Actions

Work Header

Best Broken Promises

Chapter Text

Early December

The sun peeked through Olivia Benson's curtains accompanying the alarm blaring through the room, as if she needed multiple signs that morning had come. She hesitantly woke from a deep sleep, something that only came ever so often, and turned off the alarm with a groan. She sat up in bed, pulling the cover over her bare body to avoid as much of the cool air as she could. She had done it yet again; a promise to herself was broken that she could never seem to keep. Her mind soon drifted to the evening before when she agreed to have Elliot Stabler over for dinner once again. It started off innocently as they talked about small updates in each other's lives with Noah making most of the conversation. But soon after dinner, they would always end up alone on the same place on the sofa, having deeper and deeper conversations that neither of them were ever truly good at. Months ago, when they began rebuilding their relationship and healing, their visits would be quick and surfaced. But as more months passed, Elliot quickly began finding reasons not to leave and would stay longer and longer each time.

Though Olivia wanted to say something about it, she found it harder and harder to say something about it. He was healing, she was healing, and she wanted to do everything in her power not to ruin it. Even if that meant breaking a promise that she had made to herself. Just over a month ago, Elliot's visits has started becoming longer than they ever had been when Olivia had agreed to let him stay the night. They had a few drinks, and one thing suddenly led to another. Olivia had made a promise to herself that she wouldn't sleep with Elliot in their evenings together, but promises are more easily broken than they are kept. She apologized profusely when they had awoken the next morning, telling him she would never let it happen again. He quickly calmed her down by reassuring her that she helped keep his nightmares away, and once she knew that, it became harder and harder to say no when he would beg to stay over. She knew she had to put a stop to it soon though and tell Elliot to keep going to therapy and the nightmares should go away soon. Noah had already started asking questions, and she didn't even know where to begin to answer them. Most importantly, she wasn't sure if either one of them were ready for a committed relationship while they were both still healing from the past.

But yet, she wasn't ready to say goodbye to their nights together just yet.

The bed was empty beside her, and she looked at the clock noticing that it was already past nine. Normally, she would have to be already at work, but she had been off for a few days trying to get over the stomach flu. She thought this may finally be her chance to tell Elliot to back off a little bit, but he just insisted that he would take care of her and get sick with her if he had to. She just rolled her eyes with a smile and let him do just that. She tested her limbs, feeling the satisfying ache that Elliot's body always gave her. She ran her fingers across her lips as if trying to feel the traces his lips left on her. She then grabbed her robe that had been left at the beside before hesitantly getting out of bed. Walking into the kitchen, she found a small note on the counter.

'I made you a small breakfast that's in the microwave. Heat up and enjoy. See you soon.-El'

"Let's just hope I can hold it down this time." Olivia said to herself with a smile before heating up her breakfast. After a few days of not feeling well, she did finally feel like she was on the mend which she was very grateful for. She contributed the illness to being more stressed out than usual with work and other things. Though the job was always stressful, as she had started getting older, things seemed to affect her health more than usual.

After heating her breakfast up, Olivia walked over to the bar area where she pulled out her phone to check and reply to some missed emails that had come up. About thirty minutes after finishing her breakfast, which had smelled unusually potent, she felt the all too familiar sensation of saliva filling her mouth and the nausea start to get stronger. She tried to close her eyes and breathe through it, but her body would not show her any type of mercy. She rushed as quick as she could to the toilet before emptying what little she had from her stomach.

"Just when I thought I was getting over this damn thing.." She breathed before flushing the toilet and rising from the floor. Just as she finished brushing her teeth, she heard her phone begin to vibrate. "Olivia Benson." She answered, not even bothering to look at the caller ID, silently praying it wasn't something about work.

"Ms. Benson? This is Jaclyn at Dr. Jackson's office, and I just wanted to remind you of your appointment for your yearly physical tomorrow at four o'clock. Does that still work with you?" The sing-song voice of the receptionist at the doctors office came through the speaker.

"Um, yes. That still works, thank you." Olivia rubbed her temple with her free hand as she walked back to sit on the edge of the bed. Headaches along with a bit of a dizzy spell were almost part of her morning routine at this point, which she also couldn't help but contribute to the stress of everything.

"Great. Has anything changed since we last saw you?"

'Other than the fact that my former partner showed up after a 10 year absence, and we started sleeping together a month ago?' She thought to herself, never daring to even mention that.

"Well, I can't seem to keep much of anything down the past two days, and headaches along with dizzy spells have seemed to become a new best friend over the past month. I am experiencing more stress than usual though, so I think it may just be due to that." Olivia hesitantly told the receptionist; it wasn't her favorite thing to give all the details of her health to just anyone, but she hoped that by doing this it could help her doctor to maybe make all of this go away.

"Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. In fact, I see that we just had a cancellation if you'd rather come in today at two o'clock." Olivia quickly agreed to the new appointment time, feeling very grateful that this illness, whatever it may be, could be taken care of very soon. After hanging up the phone, she found herself laying down once again, trying to feel better before this doctors appointment.

XX

Olivia fiddled with her fingers as she sat in the semi-silent waiting room. There was an elderly couple sitting diagonally from her who seemed to be glued on the old movies that were rolling on the television. She was almost grateful for the tiny bits of noise here and there due to the silence being almost deafening. She couldn't help but anxiously think about what was going to happen at this appointment. What she was going to find out. What she was going to have to do to fix it. She had a young child, a whole squad of detectives, as well as most of Manhattan to think about. The consequences of this appointment will affect them all. And Elliot..oh God, Elliot, she thought. The consequences and verdict of this appointment would affect him too..maybe more than she wishes it would, but it would affect him. What if she had to tell him she had a life threatening disease? Would he disappear again for another ten years? Would he constantly blame himself for doing this to her?

Breathe, Olivia, breathe..

Some things are easier said than done.

"Olivia Benson?" A middle aged nurse called Olivia's name, washing away all of Olivia's thoughts. Olivia grabbed her bag and followed the nurse. "My name is Lisa, and I'm Dr. Jackson's nurse." She said with a smile while they walked back to the examination areas. Olivia just gave her a friendly smile, which was all her nerves seemed to allow her to do. She took Olivia's height and weight before they went into an examination room.

"Please take your jacket off so I can get your vitals right quick." Olivia had almost forgotten that she even had a jacket even though she knew it was the first part of December, making New York a brutal place to be. She did as the nurse asked, and the nurse obtained all of her vitals. "Your blood pressure seems to be a bit high for my liking, but I'll let Dr. Jackson retry it if she wishes."

"Sorry, I guess I'm a bit more nervous today than usual." Olivia apologized with a small sigh.

"Don't be sorry, it happens all the time." The nurse said with a smile, and Olivia did her best to smile back. "So, I see you have been experiencing some nausea, dizziness, and headaches. Can you describe this a bit more in depth?" The dreaded question came where Olivia would have to broadcast her personal life to the nurse she just met. She felt as if they needed to build trust first or some kind of relationship. But there was never enough time for that. So, she just took a deep breath in realization that this was the only way that the doctor could help her.

"Well, about a month ago, I began seeing someone who I've known for a long time." God, I can't believe I'm doing this, she thought. "These symptoms started showing up, one after another, but I just thought it may be due to getting older as well as the stress that comes with my job." She silently hoped that the nurse could confirm her theory, but she also knew that wasn't exactly possible just yet.

"Ah yes, I see you're the Captain for the local sex crimes unit. That does seem like a stressful job." The nurse smiled sympathetically before typing some things on her computer. "I know this questions seem a bit personal, but we have to always ask. Have you been sexually active recently?"

"..yes." Olivia replied looking at the floor, hoping to not have to give too much detail.

"When was your last menstural cycle?"

"Ah, I'm not really sure. They seem to come sporadically these days if they even come at all."

"Okay, that's completely normal. Are there any other symptoms I should know about?" Lisa asked again, and Olivia shook her head politely. "Okay, Dr. Jackson should be in here soon, but I'll be right outside if you need anything." Lisa smiled before grabbing her laptop to leave the room. Olivia thanked her, and after she left the room, she did everything

XX

"..you want to do what kind of test?" As if Dr. Jackson's words fell on deaf ears, Olivia's heart started to race faster as she tried to clarify what the doctor said.

"Olivia, I know this may be hard to hear, but with your symptoms and recent history, there is a possibility that you may be pregnant. I am going to order you a urine test to rule the possibility out." Dr. Jackson spoke again while still typing things on her computer.

"Did you..did you just say to rule out pregnancy? I'm 53 years old, there's absolutely no possibility of that ever happening, so I would appreciate if you would please figure out what's going on with me." Olivia said curtly without even meaning to be. She just couldn't believe what this doctor was even insinuating about her condition.

"Actually, I have seen it happen with some other patients as well as some friends. I want to give you the best care possible, so I will have Lisa give you the instructions on the urine test." But I'm not other patients, she thought. Olivia wanted nothing more in life than to carry a child and to nurture it and help it grow, but she was sure that ship had sailed long ago. That's why she was over the moon when she was able to do that for Noah. Though he wasn't her biological child, she loved him more than even life itself, as if he was hers all along. Dr. Jackson was still able to get her to comply with the chosen treatment option, though she was sure she would never be pregnant, Dr. Jackson told her that the test could also detect any infections that may be causing this. After completing everything she needed to, Olivia was finally free to go with the promise that she would know some kind of results before the day was over.

And for that, she was thankful.

Or, was she?

XX

"..and then Andrew gave me a really cool new bouncy ball!" Noah excitedly held up a small blue ball at the dinner table that he was proud of for winning in a competition at school. Olivia was doing her best to listen, but the events of the day truly occupied her mind. She had her elbows bent with her hands to her face. Though she wanted Elliot here as well, she was grateful his personal family things took over his schedule that evening so that she could process everything while spending time with her son. "Mom? Are you okay?" Noah put his hand on Olivia's arm, shaking a little bit, trying to get her attention.

"Hm? Yeah, sorry, that's a very cool ball you got there. I'm so proud of you, sweet boy." Olivia ran a hand through his hair, hoping he didn't mind her deep thought too much. He just smiled sweetly and finished his last bite of dinner. "Tell you what, since you're so awesome, why don't you go get ready for bed while I clean up and then we can get some of your favorite ice cream and watch your favorite movie, okay?" She said with a smile.

"Yeah!" Noah quickly jumped up to run to his bedroom to get ready causing Olivia to chuckle lightly. As she picked up the dishes, and cleaned them up, she noticed that she had a voicemail from the doctor's office. She went to sit on the sofa, somewhere she had started to feel more and more peaceful at since Elliot always insisted on being there. She put the phone to her ear and started to listen. She could feel her heart rate start to pick up with every word that she heard until it got to the results. Then, she began to feel lifeless and numb. Like her last breath had just been taken.

She was pregnant. She was carrying a baby.

Not just any baby, she was carrying Elliot Stabler's baby.

Great.

How was this even possible?

What has she gotten herself into?

A/N: Hope you enjoyed the first chapter! Even if you didn't, please let me know in the reviews! I appreciate all reviews whatever they may say! Again, I realize this plot isn't as realistic as most, but it's so fun to be able to dream and get to write it! Thank you to those who inspired me to write it. xx

Chapter Text

Olivia sat at her desk, unable to help staring off into the distance as her mind flooded with thoughts. She was even thankful to be back at work again, running a whole squad of detectives usually took her mind off of things. Although, she knew she would have to tell everyone her newest little secret very soon. Elliot had agreed to have lunch with her if she could get away. The thought of how it may turn out had her stomach churning more than usual. She loved him, she truly did, but she didn't want to have to force this situation on him. He had come so far in his healing process, and to be honest, she was afraid that even this small secret could turn everything upside down. Yet, she was more afraid not telling him would be even worse. Trying to distract herself again, Olivia ran her index finger over the picture of the newest victim from the newest case, Alexa Melendez. A 23-year-old who was abducted and raped was found dead with multiple cuts to the neck and extremities, left bleeding out in an alleyway. Not only was she a victim, but the squad had also her four-month-old infant lying beside her also cut and helpless. Olivia found herself putting her head in her hands; the job never, ever seemed to get any easier. Every new victim or case would bring new emotions to all, but the events the past few days had Olivia in a different mindset than ever before. She never truly realized how something so small could take up such a big part of your heart and mind. Though she had learned what that true love was when she adopted Noah, it seemed as if she only learned a small sliver of how immaculate that love could be. She loved this new baby so much already, though she was fearful and nervous, and she would do whatever it took to protect and love both of her children.

"Captain, you okay?" There was a rap on the door with Amanda Rollins standing in the doorway, startling Olivia slightly.

"Yeah. What's up, Rollins?" Olivia tried her best to brush off the fact that she had just been staring off into space as best she could, but she knew Amanda would soon figure out something was going on. Amanda slowly walked closer to her desk, sitting in one of the chairs in front of it.

"We seem to think we have found Alexa's killer, Karl Hobbs. Kat and Fin have gone to the hotel he used to work at where he's supposed to pick up his last check today." They sat in silence for a few seconds before Olivia replied with, "Good. I'll let them know to give him an extra kick in the groin when they arrest him." She then began looking at the victim's picture once again.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Amanda hesitantly asked again; she knew Olivia didn't like getting into many personal details, but she cared about her boss and would do anything she could to help her. Olivia glanced up at her once again, removing her glasses this time.

"Yes, I'm fine. I already told you. Now, don't you have some work to get back to?" She didn't want to have to say things like this to her detectives, especially Amanda, but she also wished that she wouldn't have to be pushed into saying things until she was ready. Amanda knew she was about to step in uncharted territory, but she decided to push for answers.

"Pardon me for paying attention, but I've seen you walk to the restroom multiple times, almost green in the face, then come out even paler than before. Even though you swore you were over that stomach flu. You also seem to be a bit more off than usual today." Amanda tried to explain her concerns, hoping that Olivia may break sooner rather than later.

"Last time I checked, this wasn't an interrogation or an interrogation room, detective." Olivia raised her voice a little, watching her detective stand up in front of her. She thought that she had been successful to stop all of the questioning, but Amanda stood there a little longer in silence.

"Does he know?" Amanda asked in a low whisper, causing Olivia to glare at her.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Olivia pretended to go back to looking at paperwork then looked back up at Amanda who was giving her a knowing look. Another rap on the doorway caught both of their attention, and a breathless detective stood in their midst.

"Sorry to interrupt, but we seem to have another situation. Another girl has just been raped and cut with a knife in an alleyway. Yet, this time, she's alive and headed to Mercy Hospital." He spoke, causing Olivia to stand up and start grabbing her things.

"Thank you, Detective Rollins and I will go meet her there." The detective nodded before stepping away, and Olivia came around from behind her desk.

"Liv, I've got this. Seriously." Amanda held her hands up in efforts to stop Olivia, not forgetting about their previous conversation. Amanda knew Olivia would stubbornly go anyway, to fulfill her duties, but she had to try anyway.

"Let's go." Without missing a beat, Olivia finished grabbing her things and took the lead out of the squad room.

XX

"Ah, you must be the SVU detectives." A nurse greeted Amanda and Olivia both from the nurses station once they had arrived on the correct floor of the hospital.

"Yes, I'm Captain Benson, and this is Detective Rollins. We received a call earlier about a victim who just arrived." Olivia spoke directly as they both walked over to the nurse. The nurse began looking through her computer to find what they needed.

"I'm so sorry, but your girl just died five minutes ago." The nurse stated, and Olivia could almost feel her heart stop.

"Wait, I thought she was stable?" Amanda asked breathlessly, and Olivia knew she was just as affected as she was.

"We did everything we could to try to stop the bleeding, but she just lost way too much blood. I'm sorry."

"Does she..does she at least have a name?" Olivia asked, feeling another wave of nausea flood through her body. She began to take slow, deep breaths, hoping everything would just go away.

"We're doing all we can to find any records on her, and we will give you a call if we find anything." The nurse promised before getting up to check on another patient. Olivia began to feel the wave of nausea become stronger and stronger, and just like always, everything that she tried to do wouldn't make it stop.

"I'll meet you downstairs, Amanda. I have to make a quick stop." Without any question, Amanda nodded as Olivia walked off to the restroom once again.

XX

"I just got off the phone with Fin. He said that Karl never came to pick up his check today." Amanda said once Olivia had joined her again, handing her a small mint. Olivia smiled gratefully before taking it.

"We have to catch him. I know he's the one responsible for these girls." Olivia whispered softly while looking in the distance, letting the cool wind trace her face. She had gotten a little heated, so she was thankful for the brutal winter breeze.

"Are you going to tell me what's going on with you?" Amanda decided to go straight back to their conversation from earlier in hopes that Olivia may finally be ready to talk.

"It's just the..the details of this case. It's affecting me more than usual." Olivia lied through her teeth before looking back down at the ground.

"Don't give me that crap, Liv! I know when you're trying to hide something. Now, what is it? We deal with things like this all the time, and I've never seen you like this." Amanda confronted her in a harsh whisper; her glare was more harsh than ever before. Olivia still stood there silently with her mind flooding with things to say.

"I..I think I just need to take a small walk." Olivia whispered as Amanda's face softened. "You go ahead, and I'll see you back at the precinct."

"Do whatever you need, Captain. We'll handle whatever we need to." Olivia put her hand on her detective's shoulder with a smile before starting to walk away. "And take care of yourself!" Amanda shouted before she headed back to the car.

She would find out soon..they all would.

In time.

XX

Olivia used her small break as time to meet up with Elliot as she had promised. It was getting close to lunch time, after all. They had chosen a small, quaint place in the city that Olivia knew had things she could possibly tolerate without having her nausea become any worse. The place was just as lively as the city, and Olivia watched as people came and went. She knew Elliot would show up any minute, but she was thankful to have more time to think before he did. What was she even going to say? As a teenager, she always pictured a much different setting to tell a loved one exciting news such as this. She always seemed to picture a ring on her finger, white picket fences, and a perfect husband to love forever and expand a family with. Though she knew that was more fantasy than reality, she always loved to dream up different scenarios for her future, like most teenagers. She wanted a family, one to care for her as much as she cared for them. She wanted to give her children more than her mother could ever give her. She did her best to do that with Noah, but she always felt as if she needed a second chance to fix her failures that she had with him. It was almost as if the universe heard her silent prayers and given her a second chance in the most unlikely way.

"I knew I'd find you here.." Elliot greeted her before sitting in the chair in front of her.

"Was it really that obvious? You really are a good detective." She smirked before taking a sip of her water, hoping it would calm the newest wave of nerves that ran through.

"Just years of experience. It's the table that's furtherest away from people. Usually, when you have news, you like things to be more intimate." They both smiled at each other, enjoying the moment of silence together.

"So, I hear I'm not the only one with big news today." Olivia decided to jump right into things, wanting to just get everything out of her mind. Elliot paused for a few seconds, fiddling with his straw before taking a sip of water.

"Yeah..Eli told me he may move back in again soon. Maureen thinks it may be a good idea for the healing process..she calls it the 'rebuilding stage'". Olivia could tell he was happy about this, but she could also detect some fear in his voice as well. Elliot cared about his children more than anything, and he just wanted what was best for them. It had hurt him a bit to see his son move out, but he also knew it was for the better.

"Oh, that's..that's great, Elliot. I'm so happy for you all." Olivia gave him a genuine smile, putting her hand on top of his. He grasped it tight with a smile of his own, taking a deep breath. He suddenly knew everything would be okay..as long as he had his hand in hers.

"So, what's on that pretty little mind of yours?" Elliot asked after another moment of silence, and Olivia could feel her breathing hitch. It was finally time. She would either ruin the moment they just created, or she would increase the happiness of it all.

Just breathe, Olivia. Everything will be okay, she tried telling herself over and over again as Elliot's stare went from contentment to more concerned.

"Elliot, I..we..I've broken a bit of a promise." It wasn't her intention to beat around the bush before telling him the news, but her nerves were on such high gear that she felt as if she couldn't control her words.

"What? What are you talking about?" Elliot sat confused by her statement, waiting for her to say more. "Are you okay?" He grew more concerned, and she was grateful for the concern.

Maybe he would stay.

"When people break promises, there are always consequences, good or bad." She continued taking deep breaths, and Elliot had caught on, which made him even more concerned.

Come on, Olivia, just say it.

"Liv.." His tone was almost sad; many things ran through his head on what could be going on. Some were not even worth repeating or even speak into existence. He held her hand tighter once more, hoping he could take away any pain she was feeling.

"Elliot, remember when I thought I was suffering from the stomach flu?" She inquired softly and he nodded. "Well, it's a little more than just the stomach flu..the doctor confirmed it to actually be pregnancy symptoms. I don't even know how it's even possible..we're both at the age where most people aren't having children." The last few sentences raced off of Olivia's tongue, and she awaited Elliot's reaction. She suddenly felt his hand grow cold as he grew silent. He was just as shocked as she was, and she couldn't blame him.

"How could you let this happen?" He said in a whisper, causing Olivia to grow slightly angry.

"Excuse me?" Her tone became harsher, and she let go of his hand immediately. "Last I checked, the human science classes that we both had to take say that it takes two people for this to happen.

"I'm sorry, that's not what I meant. Liv, we are supposed to be in the point in our lives where we're preparing for grandchildren and retirement.." Elliot started to say, but Olivia quickly cut him off in anger.

"Don't you think I know that? Every waking moment, I can't help but think of why this would be happening to someone like me. Someone so much older and broken. But, that won't stop me from loving this baby, whatever may happen." Tears welled up in her eyes as anger boiled inside of her, but she dare not let them shed. Not in this moment anyway.

"Don't you see what that thing is capable of doing to you, Liv? You can't keep anything down these days, your nerves are on high gear, and your skin is paler than ever. You also can't stand as long without getting dizzy or a headache." Thing? His words cut through her like a knife, and she was sure if they weren't in public she would've attacked him.

"Elliot.." She gritted through her teeth and glared at him.

"Look, I'm sorry, I..I just need some time." Another surfaced apology escaped his lips, but this time, he stood up out of his chair. "I need to leave." He whispered, before quickly heading out the door. Olivia wasn't sure whether to feel sad or angry at that point. She wanted so badly for everything to all work out and be okay, but she knew that Elliot needed to process everything and make a decision. She understood since she had a few days to process it, but everything seemed to leave her feeling sort of..

Numb.

And nothing could take that type of pain away.

XX

"Can we go sledding again sometime? I want to try some new tricks." Noah asked as he sat by Olivia on the couch. After chasing some more dead leads, the squad decided to call it a night and head home on high alert. For that, Olivia was very grateful. She was exhausted and not feeling well, so she was glad to escape without having to have an excuse.

"As long as you promise me those new tricks don't involve you trying to injure yourself." Olivia laughed, putting her arm around her son. She thought back to the scenario last winter when Noah almost ended up in the hospital because of new tricks he had to show off.

"Umm, no promises." He laughed, causing her to laugh again along with a yawn. "Can we go on another walk again before it gets dark? I want to feed the birds, so that they can have some food for the night. They'll be so cold out there." There was a park near their apartment where birds loved to visit in the early morning hours as well as the evening hours, and Noah always loved to bring some food for them every time they would pass by.

"Maybe tomorrow, sweet boy. I'm not feeling very well right now." She still had yet to tell Noah about the newest little secret, but she decided that she at least wanted to wait until her first appointment next week.

"You said that last night too." He looked up at her sadly, and she gave him a sympathetic smile.

"Want to watch a movie instead?" She decided to change the subject in hopes to cheer him up.

"Okay. Can I choose one?" He went over to the different movies that they had as Olivia nodded with a smile. He happily chose one then went to sit close to his mother once again.

XX

"Noah, honey, it's time for bed." Both Noah and Olivia barely made it through the opening scene before going into a deep slumber. Olivia was thankful the credits were loud or else she may have not woken up very quick. Noah mumbled in his sleep as Olivia continued to shake him softly. "Go get ready for bed now." She pushed him along in his sleepy movements before hearing a knock at the door. After making sure he went to do as he was told, she walked over to the door, trying to rid her body of any possible remnants of sleep. She carefully looked through the peephole, and if her body wasn't awake already, it was after she saw who was on the other side.

"Elliot..this really isn't a good time." She whispered through a cracked door, but he carefully pushed the door open to step in. Whatever anger she had left in her system suddenly began to rise again. He was just as stubborn as she was, and she wondered why she even thought she would be able to push him away. She then looked into his eyes, and she could tell he had been through an emotional rollercoaster. Her heart began to break for him all over again.

"Liv, I can't tell you how sorry I am.." He wrapped his arms around her gently. As much as she craved his touch, she pulled away out of hesitation. She wasn't ready to accept his apology, but she wanted to hear him out. She could smell the stench of alcohol on him, and that made her all the more hesitant to his apology. Another wave of nausea came after smelling the potent stench, combined with the nerves, and she grabbed a hard candy nearby that had been helping a bit.

"Elliot, you've been drinking.." She pointed out the obvious, hoping it wouldn't set off an argument.

"All those things I said..I didn't mean a single word. I want to be here for you as much as I can, for all of my children." His words started becoming slurred, and Olivia grabbed his hand to lead him to the sofa.

"Mommy! I'm..hi Elliot!" As if on cue, Noah stepped back into the living room, happily greeting them both.

"Get in your bed and I'll come tell you goodnight in a minute." Olivia told him sweetly yet with a bit of assertiveness. Thankfully, Noah fled back to his room without any question. Olivia then looked back at Elliot, fishing for the right thing to say.

"I'm not going to push you away, Elliot, but you need to get some rest. I'll make the sofa as comfortable as possible, and you can just stay here for the night. We can talk again in the morning." Olivia grabbed a large blanket from across the room and handed it to Elliot.

"I just need you." He pulled her into an embrace before she could hesitate. Instead of pulling away, she couldn't help but relax into his arms. No matter what events had happened, they both always seemed to help each other through the realities of life with just one simple word or an embrace.

Good things take time.

Healing takes time.

They were going to get through it.

Together.

Chapter Text

"I just need you."

Though she hadn't meant to, Olivia stayed with him on the sofa throughout the night. Every fiber of her being inside of her fought against each other whether she should stay or go, but his warm embrace had more of a magnetic hold on her than she thought. Though she was still somewhat angry, she craved his presence more than she'd like to admit. She had joked inside her head that it was because she was carrying his child now, but that seemed like such a cheesy and cliché excuse. She knew it was truly because he was hurting and going through the same rollercoaster that she was.

She looked around the dark room, unable to decipher the exact time. She listened to Elliot's soft snores, and she knew it couldn't have been any earlier than midnight. She tried to look for her cellphone before another wave of nausea overcame her body, causing her to remember why she had awoken in the first place. She sat up on the sofa, careful not to wake Elliot, and walked the familiar trail to her bathroom. When she finally had arose to her feet, a small pain seared through her middle back, and she silently cursed herself for not going back to bed once Elliot had fallen asleep.

Elliot awoke quickly when he could sense Olivia wasn't on the sofa any longer. His breathing became a bit hitched as he looked around the dark room for where she had gone. Until he was greeted with the violent sounds of Olivia emptying her stomach once he had found the small sliver of light coming from behind him. He debated getting up and checking on her; he knew she would just push him away. At least, that seemed to be the trend with all of his other children. As hard as he tried, Kathy would always gracefully push him away, always telling him to stop worrying so much. He couldn't help but smile sadly while the memories rolled through his head. He had always wondered what it would be like to watch and experience this with Olivia, even in their early days as partners. But, now that it was finally happening, he couldn't help but feel worried and afraid for everyone..especially Olivia. Hell, he was terrified. He had heard multiple times about the multiple risks involved with women having babies in later stages of life. He always wanted what was best for Olivia, for her to live a long and happy life, and he hoped that this baby would be just what they needed for this to happen. Yet, the fear was almost overtaken by the growing happiness he had that they would finally get to experience something as beautiful as this.

Together.

"Olivia? Are you okay?" Elliot whispered through the door once silence had filled the room. He heard her groan as he opened the door to reveal her sitting on the cool tiles with a hand over her forehead. His heart immediately broke for her, wishing he could be doing this instead.

"I'm sorry for waking you. I'm okay, you can go back to bed now." She brushed him off immediately before starting to stand up. Taking immediate notice of her actions, Elliot went to grab her arm gently to help her up. "Really, Elliot, I'm fine. Go back to bed." Olivia walked over to the sink to brush her teeth and caught sight of herself in the mirror. Everyone was right. She had become much paler than before and almost looked lifeless. She wondered if this was the cost of protecting and growing a life inside you..to almost have your own life taken away. She knew that was only metaphorically true even though it sometimes felt like the actual truth. Anything for you, little one, she spoke to her baby through her thoughts, only hoping that the forming being could feel the same love that she felt.

"You're beautiful. Always have been." Elliot spoke up once again after coming back into the bathroom, watching as Olivia stared at herself in the mirror. She rolled her eyes, continuing on with what she was doing.

"I thought I told you to go back to sleep." She dried her mouth off and turned off the light, brushing past him as she walked out of the room. Elliot suddenly stopped her in her tracks, gently grabbing her arm.

"I think I know of something that may help you feel better..it worked for all of my other children. You can rest in bed, and I'll make it for you." He pleaded with a soft tone, leading her back to her bedroom. She was tempted to pull away immediately, but something about his statement made it harder and harder to hesitate. Almost as if he was giving her a silent promise that he would be there for whatever she needed.

And those promises were always the hardest to believe.

XX

"Here, try this." Elliot turned on the bedside lamp, setting the cup of the newest mixture on the nightstand. Olivia tried her best to just fall asleep while he was preparing the remedy, but truth be told, the waves of nausea had gotten worse since she had laid down. He helped her sit up in bed, trying to make her as comfortable as possible. She gave him a small smile as an act of gratitude as he handed her the mixture. She placed the spoon in her mouth, feeling the warm liquid begin to soothe every aspect of her body. "Does it help?" Elliot inquired after she had taken a few sips of the liquid.

"I'm feeling much better, thank you. You really do have a knack for this." She smiled before gently taking his hand in hers. "I guess I'll have to keep you around." She was only half-joking, and she also just wanted to see what type of response she would provoke.

"And I plan to stay around." He held her hand tighter as he sat down on the bed beside her. "Liv, you've given me nothing less than the world, and I plan to do the same for you..if you'll let me." Tears began to well up in both of their eyes, and Elliot kissed Olivia's hand softly. She wanted nothing more than to dive in deeply with him, but due to past events, she knew it would be better for the both of them to take small steps.

"Well, the world is a bit big, so I think it would be better to obtain one part at a time." She breathed with a smile, setting the cup back on the nightstand. "I have another appointment next week..if you can make it, I would love for you to come."

"I wouldn't trade it for the world." He smiled and kissed her hand again, feeling very happy and relieved she was letting him be a part of everything. "I can't wait to do this all over again..with you." Olivia smiled a little wider at his words, and she could only hope and pray that he meant every single one. "Damn..seven children in our lives, something must be right." He continued on causing her to chuckle lightly.

"Let's not get too ahead of ourselves and be thankful for the six children who are here with us today." She gave a slightly sad smile, and Elliot furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. She had heard the doctor give confirmation of all of the exciting results, but even in the excitement, she had not forgotten the stage of life they are in. She couldn't get the list of multiple abnormalities that she had found during personal research. It was one of the many reasons she had given up the idea of having a child naturally years ago. "Elliot, we're both in our fifties, you said it yourself. I didn't even know I was capable of having a baby, and quite frankly, all of those risks don't end at any age. The list just gets longer, and longer, before the baby just seems non-existent. I don't even know how long this baby will live.." All of Olivia's concerns started flowing from her tongue, and both of their minds started to race once again.

"Don't do that to yourself..we'll handle whatever comes of these coming times. I've never known someone as strong as you are." Elliot tried to soothe her, putting his hand softly on her cheek.

"And you know what, Elliot? I'm not even sure if I'll even have you during those times." The tears that had threatened once to shed were now pouring streaks down Olivia's face. You promised me you would never leave me once before and did. What's to stop you from doing it again? She wanted to say so badly to say but knew those were more words she could never voice out loud. His broken promises were a thing of the past; something they could just look back at and heal from but try to never relive.

"I want to be here for you..give you everything you need and more. Whatever it takes." He stroked her cheek with his thumb, trying his best to dry her tears away.

"But how can I trust that?"

"Let me show you." Elliot took his other free hand to caress her other cheek, stroking other tears that had fallen. He unexpectedly came closer to her face, and before she could resist or say anything, their lips were touching so sweetly yet with such passion. She pulled his body closer with the passion building up inside the deepest parts of her body. Most of his body was now on top of her, and she could tell he was already trying not to put all of his body weight on her. His lips soon moved to her neck, causing her to let out a small moan.

"Elliot..I promise you, if I wasn't so sick and exhausted right now, I would ravage you all hours of the night." Olivia spoke breathlessly, and he kissed her lips once again. Softly. Tenderly. God, did she want more. Though she had her fair share of sexual encounters with other men, not one of them ever seemed to handle her like Elliot did. He was always so full of passion but always seemed to have a delicate touch. "I'm not sure that sealed the deal for me." She laughed lightly once they were looking each other in the eye, kissing each other once again. He got off of the bed before going on to the other side of her, draping his arm lightly around her waist.

"You're just a work in progress." He chuckled, kissing her neck once again and pulling the sheets over her body. "Rest now. I'll stay here with you until you fall asleep." She turned off the bedside lamp before sinking into the warmth of his body.

She could get used to this.

Or could she?

XX

"You really think you're going to make me feel sorry for something I didn't do, lady?" Back at the SVU squad room, Olivia sat face-to-face with Karl Hobbs who the detectives had finally found trying to race to Canada. They had also found the information for the second victim, Annabelle Carlisle, who was just sixteen years old. Karl had a smile plastered on his face as sweat dripped down his face, the typical look of every perpetrator that had come through.

"No, Mr. Hobbs. But, in my experience, when someone is suspected for a crime like this, they usually try running away from what they did..like you."

"I have family in Canada! How many times do I have to tell you people this?" Karl's tone became annoyed as he flailed his body in the chair.

"Then how come my detectives couldn't bring up any proof of your statement?" Olivia's voice became a little louder as she put her files on the table in the interrogation room.

"I don't know! Computer systems are always rigged! Plus, your detectives aren't very bright." Karl's tone became raised also, and he began to fidget more in his seat. Olivia tried her best to ignore his comments, taking silent deep breaths, but the anger still boiled up inside her nonetheless.

"You killed those two women and baby." Olivia glared at him, getting closer to his face.

"Those girls were nothing but whores anyway, and that baby was put into the trash where it belongs." Another smile plastered on Karl's face, and Olivia did everything she could to not kill him right at that moment. It always baffled her how these perpetrators could care so little about the humanity around them. "What about you, Captain? Do you have any children?" Karl deviated from the conversation, causing more anger to build up in Olivia. She immediately knew that she would need to step out before something regrettable was said or done.

"You're unbelievable." She walked out of the interrogation room, taking more deep breaths. She walked back into her office, greeted by her detectives who were keeping an eye on the interrogation.

"You okay, Liv? Fin was the first to speak up when they all saw her troubled expression.

"That man killed those poor, innocent women and baby..and has the nerve to be nothing but happy about it." She spoke through gritted teeth, setting the files back on her desk, still trying to regain her composure.

"Yeah, and what's new?" Amanda spoke as she stood up from the place she was sitting. As much as Olivia didn't want to admit it, she was right. They dealt with these types of cases more than everyone liked to, and it always seemed to be the same repetitive story.

"I just got a message from the lab. They have the results from the DNA." Kat grabbed her coat before heading out of the office.

"I'll come with you." Amanda volunteered first, knowing Olivia would want someone to go with her. Olivia took another deep breath before sitting back at her desk.

"I don't mean to pry or nothing like that, but Rollins seems to think something's goin' on with ya." Fin walked over to Olivia's desk, fiddling with his hands. Great, she thought, now everyone suspects something.

"Rollins talks too much." She took a sip of the water she had on her desk then put on her glasses to check some recent emails.

"Just let me know if there's anything I can do." Fin knew Olivia wouldn't open up very easy if it was something personal to her, so he didn't go too far into questioning. "But if it's Stabler that's bothering ya, he'll need to answer to me." Being a close friend of both of theirs for many years, Fin was one of the few people who knew about Elliot and Olivia seeing each other in a different way. Olivia tried to blow it off as they were both going through the healing process together, but Fin knew better.

"You'll be the first to know." They both gave each other a small smile before he walked out of her office. Truth was, he was bothering her. Not bothering her in the way that Fin spoke about, but she couldn't seem to get him off her mind. Their night together had been more than a whirlwind, and she wanted nothing more than to push him away and never let step near her again. That could never be a solution..there was no one more she wanted than him.

And that scared her the most.

XX

Olivia laid her keys down on the bar, finally arriving back home from work. Karl Hobbs finally had been booked and was prepared to be arraigned in the morning, and the detectives were finally all relieved that these victims would finally get some justice. She was grateful to be alone tonight; Noah had gone to a friends house for a sleepover after begging all week. Though she was always grateful for time with her son, this particular case had left her feeling more exhausted than usual. She walked over to the sofa, laying down with a sigh. She's almost dead asleep when it invades her body. The most unexpected yet the most frightening thing of all. She didn't think anything about it at first, pain had seemed to become a normal occurrence these days. But, when it happened again a few minutes later, she couldn't help but panic more. It was deep and low in her abdomen, and she knew what this meant. She had been through so many things the past few days that she couldn't get the thought of it out of her mind. She started taking deep breaths as she walked to her bathroom, trying to figure out what to do next. She cracked the door slightly, even though she was alone, and began to hesitantly pull down her pants. Then, there it was..the most dreaded sight to see.

Blood.

"No..no." She said in a breathless whisper as her heart rate started to pick up. It wasn't very much, but it was sure enough to scare her. This wasn't what she wanted. She knew bleeding was slightly normal in pregnancy, but her mind automatically went to the worst case scenario. "I have to tell Elliot." This was where her mind went next as she pulled up her pants before going to grab her cellphone. Her hands and fingers shook as she dialed his number, and after a few rings, it went to voicemail. She then remembered him mentioning having some things to do and assumed he couldn't get to his phone. He had already dealt with so much loss, and it broke her heart to think about having to tell him about this.

"Elliot, I need your help."

Chapter Text

Long, deep breaths escaped Olivia's lips as she tried to compose herself; she knew added stress would just make the situation even worse. She knew she had to act quickly whether she was alone or not. She had done the best she could trying to reach out to Elliot, but she didn't want a poor outcome just because she had waited around for him. She also didn't want him to be worried, so she dialed his number once again to let him know where she was headed. Another voicemail rang in her ears, and she took another deep breath, just wanting to give up and hang up. Yet, the adrenaline and worry inside of her kept her going, and she gracefully told him where she would be if he ever got the chance to show up. She went to grab her bag before rushing out of her apartment once again. She was thankful to be able to have the route to the hospital down like clockwork due to the worry that fogged her brain. She even contemplated calling someone else to take her, but that would take far too long, much longer than she wanted to wait. It would also cause her to have to possibly tell more people about the baby that may or may not be existing right now, and that was something she definitely wasn't ready for at the moment. But, she couldn't help but wish she wasn't alone in this situation. She tried her best to not be angry with Elliot..he had a life of his own, but he also promised that she was his life too. There was also a part of her that knew he would show up when she would least expect it, ready to help her in any predicament she was in.

"Liv! Oh God, Olivia.." Just as she was getting into her car, a familiar voice pulled her out of her racing thoughts. Just as she had imagined, Elliot's eyes met hers in the moment she least expected it. He pulled her into a warm embrace once he noticed how frightened she was. "Are you okay? Is Noah okay?" He cupped her face with his gloved hand, hoping to put some color back into her current white complexion.

"Elliot..I..the..I'm..bleeding." She babbled, putting her face into his chest. She felt his body go almost limp, and she knew that he was scared now too, but he still continued to rub her back in efforts to comfort her as tears streamed down her face. Though she had been through and seen every event that had taken place in the past few minutes, having to say it out loud made it all the more real and frightening.

"Come on, let's get you to the hospital. I'm sure everything is just fine." He gently took her arm to lead her to the passenger's side of the car. She was more than grateful to finally not have to be going through this alone, whatever may come out of it. It hadn't been too long since she had found out about her unlikely and unplanned pregnancy, and after a week of processing things, she had finally had the will to be happy about things. Of course, she was still very terrified and nervous, but the small bouts of happiness had a more easier time taking over her emotions. She finally had gotten everything she wanted, with someone she cared about very dearly since knowing each other. After all of the grim events that had happened in their lives, they finally had something to be happy about.

Therefore, it was only fitting that everything was falling apart now.

"Ah, God.." Another searing wave of pain surfaced Olivia's abdomen as they stopped at a traffic light. It wasn't the pain bothering her as much as it was the worry that came with each wave. Elliot looked at her sympathetically, still wishing he could have to go through this instead. Olivia didn't deserve to have to experience the things she had to experience to carry his child, but he knew that she was just grateful to be able to experience this. He was unsure of what to do to help her, so he just did the best he knew to do and grabbed her hand. "Distract me, El. Talk about anything that comes to your mind." As if reading his mind, Olivia whispered those words through gritted teeth.

"You're so strong..I know that both of you are going to make it through this. Whatever it takes. You are both true fighters." He spoke in a low whisper as she continued to grip his hand for more comfort. She gave a small smile at his words, only wishing that they were true. She had been through much worse and survived it all, but there was just something different about having something special taken from you right before your eyes. Positive thoughts. Positive thoughts. She had to make herself take a deep breath ever so often just to make sure she was breathing. A small amount of relief came once she saw the lights of the hospital through the rain on the windshield.

After parking the car, Elliot helped Olivia out of the car before they walked hand in hand into the hospital. Olivia had called Dr. Jackson, who was thankfully at the hospital tonight, and told her everything that had been going on. Dr. Jackson could sense her nerves on the phone, so she calmly just told her to come see her at the hospital. After getting checked in, Elliot and Olivia both were directed to a small examination room, much like the one's that they would meet victims in. The nurse who had lead them to the room gave Olivia a hospital gown to change into, letting her know it was to make the examination easier. Thankfully, there was a small bathroom inside the room so she could easily change. After getting changed, the nurse helped Olivia onto the bed where Dr. Jackson would soon be examining her. The nurse was in and out quickly, and the room soon became a deafening silence. Olivia put a hand over her abdomen before looking over at Elliot who was still smiling sympathetically at her. He moved the chair closer to her side so that he could once again hold her free hand.

"I can't tell you how sorry I am..putting you through all of this." Olivia was the first to speak, tired of the silence. "I promised you something so special and now it's most likely getting taken away." More tears streamed down her face without her even noticing at first. He cupped her face softly with his hand once again, and Olivia was beyond grateful for all the support he'd been giving her.

"Liv, you can't do this to yourself. You can't.." As if on cue, Dr. Jackson knocked on the door softly before stepping in the room. Her bright demeanor even at the later hours of the night seemed to calm Olivia's nerves more than she could have imagined.

"Hello Olivia, I'm very sorry we have to meet again like this." Dr. Jackson walked over to Olivia's bedside and gently touched her shoulder. "And who might this be?" She gestured towards Elliot in attempts to try to distract Olivia but also find out more information. Olivia looked over at him and waited for his answer, which surprised him a bit.

"I'm Elliot Stabler." He finally spoke after clearing his throat; he suddenly felt as if he was back in grade school, trying his best to make a good impression on his teacher and newest classmates. "I'm her, um.." He started before Olivia soon interjected.

"He's the baby's father." She said with such confidence that anyone would be taken aback. If she wanted to answer that badly, why didn't she just take over in the first place? He cleared his throat once again before giving a small smile toward Dr. Jackson, who gave his hand a small shake. After giving her greetings back, Dr. Jackson began talking to Olivia once again. He wanted to pay attention so badly, to comfort Olivia if needed, but her statement began to cause his mind to race with thoughts. What were they? Truly? Elliot wanted to give Olivia all the time and space she needed to figure things out, but there was a small part of him that wanted to know what he was to her. He knew that she wouldn't treat him as if he were a special doormat, but if she wanted him in this forever, he wanted to know now. He loved her with every fiber of his being but wasn't sure if it was mutual. All he had to do was ask, but he was afraid of the response that would cause him to lose her forever.

If only it was that easy.

"Elliot?" Olivia squeezed his hand, drawing him from his thoughts, and his eyes suddenly met Olivia's and Dr. Jackson's as they stared at him. He silently beat himself up for not continuing to pay attention, and he knew he may have to prepare for a small lecture from Olivia later.

"Sorry, what did you say?"

"I'm going to do a vaginal ultrasound to try to see what's going on. It sounds like some stress possibly is causing this, but I just want to make sure." Dr. Jackson gracefully repeated, and Elliot nodded as he felt his cheeks start to become red. Dr. Jackson pulled a machine over closer to the bedside, a machine that Elliot was all too familiar with. He tried not to boast about things like of that nature because he knew this was all new for Olivia. She needed to be able to experience things like this for the first time just as he had from a distance.

"Okay, I'm just going to put your legs up a little and then carefully insert this. It shouldn't be painful at all." Dr Jackson helped Olivia into the position that she needed to be in before getting the equipment ready. Olivia flinched a bit once the probe had been inserted due to the small amount of cool gel that was on it. Dr. Jackson kept an eye on her, making sure she wasn't showing any signs of pain. Olivia squeezed Elliot's hand tighter as they awaited to hear the results of everything.

Then, there it was. A faint, small, noticeable white blob. Their baby. It would truly be a lie if Elliot and Olivia both said they didn't shed a few tears. Tears of relief along with tears of happiness. It was real. Their baby was growing inside and would continue growing. It gave them hope in this dark time.

"Looks like a happy and healthy baby, heartbeat and all. From this, I would say you are about five weeks along, but I'll measure again at your next appointment with me. The baby is still a little small for you to be able to hear the heartbeat, but I can assure you that I will let you both listen at that next appointment. But, I can see that the heart is still happily beating. I can get you both some pictures though." Dr. Jackson said with a smile as Olivia and Elliot watched the screen in awe, only giving a small nod. "Since this small episode was caused by stress, Olivia, I really need you to try to slow it down at work if possible. With your age, stress is more likely to induce things such as this. I also want to see you more often to be able to see how things are progressing, but we can go over that more at your next appointment and a little more happier setting." Dr. Jackson started to clean up the equipment as well as handed them the pictures she promised.

"I guess this would be a good time to tell my superiors." Olivia said through a teary smile as she wiped her eyes. "I will do whatever it takes to keep this baby safe."

"That's good to hear. I know you will. If this happens again, please don't hesitate to call and let us know. You both will make amazing parents. Nice to meet you again, Elliot." Dr. Jackson bustled around the room, finishing up everything before saying her quick goodbyes.

"Elliot, I can't believe we just saw our baby, and not only that, everything is okay." She looked at him with a genuine smile, the first he had seen in days. It made his heart burst with joy that she was finally happy. He suddenly remembered about his thoughts earlier, and he decided that she deserved an explanation as to why he was deep in thought instead of listening to the doctor's words.

"Yeah, blessed is a total understatement to how I feel right now." He took her hand that he was still holding and pressed her knuckles to his lips. "You know, Liv, I was wondering.." His breathing soon hitched as he began to think through his words. No, not now, he thought, can't ruin the moment.

"What?" Olivia asked with concern when he didn't continue.

"How we both got so lucky to have such a beautiful baby and such an amazing end to a stressful night." He spoke with a smile, causing her to smile as well.

"It was meant to be." Olivia said before getting up to get changed once again.

Yeah, he thought, but how much was meant to be?

XX

"Look! That tree is so big!" Noah exclaimed as he, Olivia, and Elliot walked through the streets of the city. Since it was getting closer to the Christmas season, Noah had begged to go shopping to get gifts for some of his friends and family. Since Olivia had to lower her stress, she knew some walking around could help a bit, but Elliot made her promise that she wouldn't overdo it. It was always so beautiful and magical to see the many decorations in the city, almost calming in a sense. Olivia was never very keen on the holidays, but after Noah came into her life, she seemed to see things in such child-like, magical perspective. They suddenly became more beautiful than they had been.

"Sorry kid, I don't think you'll ever be tall enough to take that tree home." Elliot chuckled as he and Olivia tried to catch up to his speed.

"What if I got a giant robot to take it for me?" Noah quipped back, stopping to admire more decorations.

"I think it may still crush your house." Olivia said, causing all of them to laugh.

"I just realized I haven't written my list to Santa yet!" The little boy exclaimed again once he had seen a Santa decoration in the distance.

"Don't worry, there's still plenty of time for that." Olivia smiled before grabbing his hand. She bent down to his level once she knew he wasn't distracted by the many decorations. "What if I told you that you were getting a very big gift this year?"

"What?! What is it?!" Olivia couldn't help but laugh at her son's excitement. She just hoped he would be this excited once he saw the gift.

"If I told you, it wouldn't exactly be a surprise, now would it?" He bent his head in disappointment along with a small smile on his face. "But, I can promise you that it will be a good one." She stood back up, taking both Noah's and Elliot's hands as they continued to admire the decorations.

"This is going to be the best Christmas ever." Noah said before hugging Olivia's side. He was right..it would be.

The best year.

Chapter Text

"I'm so glad to see you both again under happier circumstances." Dr. Jackson greeted Elliot and Olivia both as she prepared for the appointment. The appointment that was supposed to be the first appointment that took place before the previous events had taken place in the last week. Olivia hadn't slept much the night before; she was very elated to be able to get more updates on the baby, but she couldn't help worrying that she would have to experience the threat of losing it all once again. She looked over at Elliot, trying to find a bit of comfort for her nerves. She noticed his eyes were darker than usual, and a part of her wished that he would've taken her advice and stayed home and rested after working all night. Of course, he stubbornly declined, promising her this was more important to him than sleep. She was grateful for his commitment and support, but she just hoped and prayed that he was remembering to take care of himself as well. Elliot gave her a small smile once he noticed her glance, squeezing her hand gently. She also knew he was just as afraid as she was, maybe even more. This was his baby too, after all, as much as she'd like to forget it at times. She was so used to being independent for most of her life that it was almost impossible to let someone else in to her personal experiences. Especially someone like Elliot. She had cared about him so deeply for so long that she wanted nothing more than for him to be able to experience this with her, but it also scared her just the same.

"So, your weight and vitals look good. How has the sickness been?" Dr. Jackson's voice drew Olivia from her thoughts as she sat down with her computer, preparing to take notes.

"Seems to be increasing daily, along with every other symptom." Olivia tried to joke, but truth was, she couldn't be happier for this fact. To her, it meant that her baby was still safe and growing inside her. She had even used some of her free time, which seemed to come more often these days, to do some reading on things that she could experience as the pregnancy progresses. She even remembered reading where some women would experience sickness the whole nine months, and she could only pray that the increasing sickness only meant it would soon come to a complete stop. But, whatever it takes, she would always tell herself, whatever it takes.

"Though it is unpleasant, that's a good sign." Dr. Jackson said with a small chuckle before turning back to her computer. "Your blood pressure is a bit high for my liking today. How has your stress level been?" Olivia began to tense up slightly, and taking notice of her actions, Elliot squeezed her hand gently once again and ran his thumb over her palm. Quite frankly, Olivia wished that she could refuse to answer. She had been doing her very best to try to keep her stress level down, taking small walks or doing awkward breathing exercises she had learned. But, she was still the Captain of a whole squad of detectives. She was still a mother to a little boy. Not to mention she was also experiencing an unplanned pregnancy with her former partner who had just unexpectedly come back into her life.

Of course she was stressed.

"Olivia?" Dr. Jackson pulled her out of her thoughts once again, waiting patiently for an answer.

"Um, well..I still need to let my superiors know about this, and I will be sure to do that as soon as this appointment is finished." Olivia spoke sheepishly, continuing to look down at the floor. It wasn't that she was trying to hold it in forever, but her own pride seemed to take over every time that she would try to go and tell them. Though she had been a Captain for a while, she had worked very hard to get to that position, and she knew what would happen once everyone found out about her pregnancy. They would have her trying to run a squad from her desk and interrogations would be out of the picture. She wanted to protect her baby at all cost when it came to her job, but she would prefer if it could be at her discretion instead of someone else's.

"Just remember that it's for a good reason." Dr. Jackson began typing on her computer once again, and Olivia could tell that she was slightly disappointed that she didn't already let her superiors know like she said she would. And, to be honest, Olivia was disappointed in herself. Though there is no safe zone in pregnancy, especially with high risk pregnancies, Olivia just hoped that she could wait for some sort of safe zone to be able to break the news. She wanted to be able to have some sort of confirmation that everything would be okay. She had seen her baby before, but it was under the circumstances that she may lose it, and she could never really get that out of her head. "Okay, let's go ahead and get a look at the little one." As if reading her mind, Dr. Jackson grabbed the ultrasound equipment, and Olivia could feel her lips form a small smile. She looked over at Elliot once again who also had a smile on his face as she laid down and lifted her shirt to give Dr. Jackson easier access.

"I'm sorry that this is so cold." Dr. Jackson said as a bit of a warning before squirting the infamous cool gel onto Olivia's abdomen, causing her to flinch a bit. She turned the machine on and placed the probe on top of her skin, before moving it around to the right place. And just like before, the small yet visible formation of the baby appeared on the screen. And it was like nothing else mattered anymore. No more stress. No more disappointments. No more sorrow. Just a beautiful life forming right in front of their eyes. "He or she looks happy and healthy in there." Dr. Jackson said with a smile before taking all of the necessary measurements. Though there was never any true prediction or confirmation on how everything would progress, her statement eased most of Olivia's nerves, and she knew that everything would be alright. One day at a time.

"So beautiful." Olivia whispered breathlessly, mesmerized by the screen in front of her. She tried her hardest to swallow the lump that had formed in her throat to be able to stop the tears that flowed freely down her cheeks, which wasn't an uncommon part of her routine these days, but this time felt very different. The feelings of relief and pure elation washed over her, and for the first time, she was truly happy. It was almost as if everything had finally become real.

"It seems that I was a bit off on your measurements before, and it looks like you're actually at the seven week mark. Looks like you'll have a July baby on your hands." Dr. Jackson turned off the machine before helping Olivia get cleaned up.

"Ah, a summer baby. Now that should be fun." Elliot remarked jokingly, trying to hide the small amount of wetness under his eyes. "And everything is okay?"

"Yes, all of the measurements are where they need to be, and baby seems happy and healthy already. Now, I want to see you again in about another month to do another checkup and go over some more things with you. Also, since you're a high risk pregnancy, I want to be able to see that you are both being taken care of through this journey." Dr. Jackson handed some photos over to Olivia with a smile. Though she was grateful to be going through this journey, she wasn't fond of being labeled as 'high-risk'. She felt as though it was created to constantly remind women that they waited too long to get pregnant or they should just spend the whole journey in worry because a complication is bound to happen.

After bidding their goodbyes and setting up the next appointment, Elliot and Olivia both walked out of the office hand-in-hand. Silence filled the air as they walked and processed everything that had just happened. Olivia knew what her next step needed to be. She didn't need to hold it off any longer. She needed to go spread the news of her pregnancy so that she could be safer at work. Although, she still didn't understand why they thought it would be safer behind a desk. Anyone could come into the squad room and start causing havoc and threaten her safety. She glanced at the ultrasound photos once again, and everything seemed to make sense again. If there was anyone or anything that could make her sit at a desk for a while, it would be the beautiful small being growing inside of her.

"You've really got to let them know about this." Elliot spoke as he opened the passenger side of the car, turning Olivia to face him.

"Oh, really? I didn't know. Thank you for letting me know, doctor." Olivia's tone became defensive with a small amount of sarcasm. "Since when did you get a medical degree?"

"Look, if I had known that you didn't tell them yet, I would've gone and told them myself." He replied defensively back, trying not to make an argument out of it. But, Olivia suddenly became infuriated. She was quite capable of going to do these things on her own and in her own time.

"I would have gone and told them sooner, but I couldn't help but think about all of the consequences that come with it! Plus, I wasn't even sure that I would even be pregnant this long!" Olivia finally spout out her feelings to one of the people she trusted most. She was hoping to not have to say it, but if she hadn't, she was afraid the situation may have been much worse.

"So, this is all about you now? Your feelings?" She knew he was only being irrational out of fear and disappointment, but it still infuriated her increasingly every time he spoke. She wanted so badly just to slap him in the face, but she knew that would only make the situation worse. And with hormones like these, she knew that she may need to save that slap for future purposes.

"Get in the fucking car now." She seethed through clenched teeth, still trying to strain every urge to tear the man apart. But, truth was, she was tired of fighting with him. Tears formed in her eyes once again."Go." Her tone softened a bit when he didn't move, but she still was sure to let him know she was infuriated. They both got into the car, and Olivia continued to look out the window as she waited for him to start the car.

"I know you're upset, and I am sorry. It's just..you promised, Liv." Another promise broken..that's what life seemed like these days. Except, this time, the consequences were disappointing.

And with that, they drove away in silence.

XX

And just as she suspected, Olivia walked slowly out of One Police Plaza with a different type of job on her hands: monitoring her squad from afar. She had tried to reason with them, giving every reason why she shouldn't have to be behind a desk, but she soon ran out of reasons to make them budge. She even had to promise to notify her squad after the new year, which seemed like a time frame she could work with. Maybe all the apprehension would go away by then. All of this was for the best, but there was something about it that still didn't sit right with her. How could she run a full squad of detectives behind a desk? She would learn, one day at a time.

"See, now that wasn't so bad, was it?" Elliot quipped once she had gotten back into the car, almost as if he was trying to make a peace offering. She rolled her eyes with a slight smirk as she put her seatbelt on.

"I'm sorry for getting so upset earlier." Olivia said with a slight sigh, pulling his hand into hers.

"Hormones..you gotta love 'em." He chuckled slightly before starting the car once again. Once he had put his hand on the gearshift, Olivia stopped him by putting his hand up to her lips, kissing it softly.

"Hormonal, am I? Well, why don't I just show you how hormonal I can be?" Her tone was full of seduction, sending electrical currents down his spine. She caressed his face, running her fingers over his jaw. Her lips suddenly crashed with hers but in a gentle sort of way. It was a slow and passionate type of touch, one she never failed to have. Her next move was unexpected, but completely expected all in the same, as her other hand began to tease him by running her fingertips lightly over his hardening erection. The electrical currents only grew stronger and stronger as he fought the urge to rotate his body over the console of the car to start taking advantage of her body.

"Liv, we're.." Her trembling fingers were on the buttons of his shirt when he could finally manage a breathless tone. He knew they had to stop soon, but there was a part of him that couldn't even bear the thought of having to stop. Her lips silenced him before he could get a full sentence out as she started unbuttoning his shirt, only to where the top part of his chest was exposed. She trailed her fingers lightly over his chest, as their lips continued to stay intertwined. He finally gently grabbed her hand, apologetically pulling his lips away. "We're in the car, remember?" Though he was just as disappointed as she was to have to stop, he gave her a small smile as he started to button his shirt back up.

"I thought a hormonal pregnant woman could do whatever she wanted." Olivia fixed her clothes as well before putting her seatbelt back on with a sly smirk on her face.

"You're technically not wrong. But, I don't think I would be able to fulfill all of your current wants and needs in a parked car in a parking lot." Elliot chuckled as he started the car once again.

"Well, since you can't fulfill one need, I know another you may can fulfill. What if I told you I needed ice cream?" She looked at him with a look that she knew he wouldn't even try to resist.

"I would say that I needed to go over the definition of need and want." He teased her by slightly mocking her tone, causing her to lightly slap his forearm. "Oh, there go the hormones again."

"Oh hush. We're just getting started." They both laughed as they left the small parking lot. The whole world finally seemed to feel right once again. They both knew that figuring all of the technicalities of what was to come would be a process. Yet, it would be their process together.

And that would always be enough.

XX

"Thanks for staying to help me wrap all of these. I'll be sure either not to procrastinate next time or not go overboard." Olivia slowly rose from the rug, managing to balance by putting her hand on the sofa behind her. The time was nearing midnight, and the Christmas holidays were quickly approaching. After a small dinner together, Elliot insisted on helping finish wrapping some gifts that Olivia hadn't gotten around to wrapping. Although, she tried tirelessly to get him to go be with his children, but it didn't surprise her in the least when he refused every time.

"I'm not sure that it will be possible to not go overboard with two children. Especially when one hasn't experienced the magic of Christmas yet." Elliot stood up after she did and placed his fingers where she seemed to be aching the most before beginning to knead the spot carefully. A low moan escaped her lips before she pulled away from his touch. No matter how much she craved it, she knew she couldn't fall into the remnants of the lust and the temptation that lingered in her body.

"Oh, don't even remind me. I swear I'm already too old for this." She spoke before he could question her actions, and she could see his eyes grow concerned as he exhaled a sigh. "Um, it's getting late. You should probably be getting home. You have Christmas festivities to attend tomorrow with your family." She stepped back a bit further, sliding the last present over to the tree. I am home, he thought as they stared into each other's eyes in the current silence. Then, a thought suddenly struck her mind that hadn't crossed her mind in a while. "Oh my God, Elliot. How are we going to break the news to the kids?" She put her hand over her forehead before sitting down on the sofa once again. "I know a lot of people don't know yet, but I at least want the kids to know." She took a few deep breaths as her heart started to race.

"Hey, hey. Let's just focus on right now." He stood her up carefully with his hands gently placed on her arms. "On us. Come on, let's get you to bed. You're exhausted." He started to lead her to the bedroom, and as much as she wanted to pull away once again, she was too exhausted to even begin to compute the actions in her mind. He helped her sit on the edge of the bed before sitting down beside her. She put a hand over her forehead once again with a deep sigh.

"God, I sure wish these dizzy spells would go away already. I think I'm gonna be sick." She stood up as quickly as she could to walk the all too familiar trail to the bathroom to empty her stomach, what little was left in there. Elliot stood in the doorway hesitantly before caving in to his own desires to go hover over her. He gently pulled her hair into his palms, feeling the heat of her neck escape. He wanted ever so badly to take this all away from her, maybe even more so than he had before. Olivia was the last person who deserved to have to go through the perils of pregnancy, but he hoped that she knew that the reward in the end would make all of this worth it.

"Do you want some more of the soup I made you the other day?" He asked her softly once he helped her stand back up.

"No, I'm okay, I'm just really exhausted. I think I may go lay down." She walked over to the sink to quickly brush her teeth and popping some nausea medication in her mouth that Dr. Jackson had given. He followed her back into the bedroom, and she grabbed her pajamas off of the nightstand. "I'm sorry your night had to end like this. I haven't been the life of the party that much lately. Just the same old routine."

"To be fair, the night isn't over yet." Elliot looked over at the small clock, noticing that it still hadn't reached midnight just yet. Olivia smirked a bit before looking down at her pajamas, then the floor, wanting to address something she had wondered all night long.

"Elliot, why have you insisted staying here as long as you have? You have a home and family that needs you more than I do." Olivia tried to keep her tone curious and not chastising because the last thing she wanted was for him to take it the wrong way then all hell break loose. He couldn't lie, her statement hurt him slightly. Unintentionally, of course. In her defense, she was correct in every aspect, but he actually needed her more than she needed him.

"I..I just...I just don't want to lose you. Or anything we have, for that matter." He stammered, trying to explain his feelings, something that was never his forte. Olivia's heart began to melt all over again, and he walked over to her, pulling her face into his hands before kissing her lips softly. She didn't reject, which he was glad for, so he did it a second time. This time, there was more passion and electricity involved. Olivia let her pajamas drop out of her hands before grabbing his waist for support. He began to start a trail with his lips down her neck, producing another low moan from her lips. He took the hem of her shirt into his trembling hands before helping her pull it over her head. She didn't stayed pulled away from his lips for long as their two bodies danced to the bed close by. In smooth motions, both of them helped each other to undress, one button or clasp at a time.

"I think this is a Christmas present we could both enjoy." Olivia giggled seductively before pushing her lips back into his. He gently pulled her body on top of his, knowing this was probably the best idea so that she wouldn't have to have too much weight on her body. As much as he wanted the pleasure of Olivia, he wanted to do everything he could not to hurt their unborn baby. Her body soon found his hardened erection, and she started to move across his body in gentle strokes. She could feel the passion growing low in her abdomen as the electrical currents moved through the nerves of her body.

"God, you feel so damn good." Elliot whispered in between the strokes of her body. They tried to keep their noises at a quiet level, careful not to wake Noah who was in the next room. Though Olivia's hormones seemed to take over, her brain and body soon reminded her how exhausted and sick she had felt before. She produced a few more strokes for him before breaking apart from his body and laying beside him on the bed.

"I was having so much fun, but I guess our baby wants some rest now." She spoke breathlessly, reminding him of how exhausted she was before their romantic session started taking place. Our baby, he couldn't help but smile widely at her reference of their unborn child. He started a trail of kisses down her body once again, stopping once he reached her small abdomen. He began placing feather-light kisses across her skin, softly and sensually. "I love you, so much." He whispered softly, but Olivia could still hear it, and tears began to prick her eyes. Elliot then began to cover both of their naked bodies before kissing her lips softly once again.

"Merry Christmas, Liv."

"Merry Christmas."

XX

"Noah, why don't you come eat some of this pancakes now?" Olivia called to her son who was currently immersed in the gifts that he had gotten during the night. It was always such a beautiful sight to watch his excitement grow every Christmas, or every holiday for that matter. Elliot had left early that morning, successfully making it out the door even before Noah came bouncing in the room with Christmas excitement at the crack of dawn.

"Okay, but can I play with this when I'm done?" He asked, holding up a new gadget that he had been begging for all year.

"Yes, but remember, we have to go take Ms. Patty the Christmas cookies you made her." She said as he ran over to the bar area where she had placed his pancakes. Patty Shelton was a close neighbor of Olivia's whom she never truly met until Noah had accidentally run into her while running excitedly in the hallway to their apartment. Olivia was very grateful when she turned out to be a very nice woman, and much to her surprise, she accepted their apologies by inviting them over. They soon found out was a widow with no family close by, and when they found out she would be spending Christmas alone, they decided to give her a little Christmas cheer by making her some cookies and spending a bit of time with her.

"Oh yes! We can't forget about that!" Noah took a bite of his pancakes with a smile. Olivia had a plate of her own and sat beside him, trying to brave eating the sugary meal. She was starving but felt so ill at the same time, but she wanted to try to hide it from Noah as best she could. Even though he was used to every little symptom by now.

"Hey Noah, can you keep a secret?" Olivia decided that this may be the best time to say something since he had opened most of his presents already. He nodded and turned his full attention onto her. "Well, there's a gift that was too big yet too small that Santa couldn't put it under the tree for you."

"What is it? What is it?" The little boy jumped excitedly in his seat, his curls bouncing with him. Olivia couldn't help but giggle at his excitement.

"Well..um, by the summertime, you will get to have a new baby brother or sister. Isn't that cool?" Olivia said with a smile and waited for his response.

"Is that why you've been sick a lot?" He inquired with a look of concern on his face. "I don't want a baby if it makes you so sick." Olivia smiled sympathetically as she ran a hand through his hair.

"Well, sweetie, that's actually a good thing. Everything that has been happening to me is helping the baby to grow and get stronger, even if it doesn't seem like it at first."

"Can it be a baby brother? I want to teach him lots of things." He asked, making Olivia chuckle once again.

"I'm sadly not in charge of that part. But, I know that whether you have a brother or sister, you're going to make the best big brother ever." She pulled him into a hug, and he put her arms around her tightly. "I love you." She whispered before kissing his hair softly.

XX

The nighttime hours quickly approached as the Christmas festivities were winding down for everyone. It had been such a beautiful day, for Olivia and Noah both. Noah insisted on buying gifts for Elliot and his children, so they all came over in the evening hours to open them as well as watch him open some of his other gifts. After all the excitement of everything, Noah was now asleep on Olivia's chest as he curled up into her side. Which, she was grateful for so that she knew that her little secret could be kept a little while longer. He couldn't help but tell their friend Patty, who was elated and overjoyed for them both. But, like Olivia, she couldn't help but fear what the journey may hold. But, she was mostly overjoyed.

Now came time for the audience that Olivia feared most.

"Well, there's just one more gift that wasn't able to be wrapped under the tree." Olivia spoke once the room had grown quieter. Elliot turned his head immediately to her and knew what she was going to say next. He rubbed her back gently and reminded her to breath as he felt her body tense. "Well, your dad and I..um, we..I..." Breathe, Olivia. "We are going to have a baby."

And then silence fell over the room.

The deadliest silence of them all.

"Dad. How could you?"

Chapter Text

"Dad. How could you?"

The small remark of disappointment from Eli seemed to speak for the deafening silence across the room. Olivia wasn't surprised in the least, telling Elliot's adult children that life was about to start all over again had been one of her biggest fears in the previous weeks. She had even played multiple scenarios in her head about this moment before she decided to spread the news so soon, and of course, none of them ever ended well. Though it seemed to lift some sort of weight off of her shoulders, it still left her nervous with how the somewhat rebuilt relationships may suffer in the upcoming months. She held Noah a little tighter on her chest, who was still asleep amidst the small commotion going on around. Her glance then shifted back up to the eyes staring back at her around the room, and like many times before, her eyes finally came to meet Elliot's. Surely he would know what to say, she silently prayed in her head. She tried to form words to respond, but every time she tried, she would become more and more speechless.

"Come on, guys. I know there's no way you can be happy about this." Eli then stood up in efforts to provoke his siblings to express the same anger and disappointment he was feeling. He began pacing the room with his hands in his pockets, trying to form another response. He walked slowly towards Elliot, his eyes seeming to grow darker and darker to match his words. "I mean, how would you feel after losing your mom only to find out your dad was screwing someone else?" His tone was low as they looked each other in the eyes, and Olivia began to hold her breath as she feared what may happen next.

"Eli, that's enough." Maureen chastised softly, inviting her younger brother to come sit back down beside her before things got more out of hand. Her eyes met Olivia's once again before giving her an apologetic look. "We're all really happy for you." She spoke before wiping a tear that had slipped down her cheek. Olivia began to feel guilty all over again when she saw the anger and hurt in their faces that was covered by a mask of whatever happiness they could feel at the moment.

"You all have to understand that this wasn't exactly something we wanted to happen." Elliot finally spoke up as he looked at all of his children then back to Eli who was still standing over him. "I loved your mother very, very much. When we lost her, there's no words that could describe the hurt and grief that accompanied that. When people are hurting, they do things they regret. And most of the time, consequences come with those actions." Olivia felt her body begin to become stiff as she took in all of his words. She felt almost as if she was a teenager again getting lectured by a disappointed father, even though his statements weren't directed at her. Each word he spoke could not be filled with more truth, even more than she had wished. They had come together at a vulnerable point in their lives and couldn't help but fill whatever void they felt with one another's presence.

"You're so pathetic." Eli whispered under his breath once again before walking towards the door. The slam behind him caused Olivia to jump a little, and that's when she knew that her recurring nightmare she had over the past few weeks was starting to become real.

"I guess we should all be going. Merry Christmas." After Eli's abrupt exit, all of the children quickly bid their goodbyes so that they could keep up with all of their brother's whereabouts. Elliot walked them out, giving them each a quick hug before shutting the door behind them.

"Well, that went well." He quipped sarcastically before trailing back to the sofa.

"And, I think it's time that you should be going as well. They need you, Elliot, now more than ever before. I'm pretty sure we just flipped their world upside down all over again." Although there was some relief to have the news spread a little more, there was still a large pang of guilt that sat upon Olivia's chest. She hadn't meant to ruin such a beautiful holiday or the relationships for that matter. Just give them time, she told herself, they'll surely come around. She was almost grateful for just one outburst, but a part of her also seemed to wish that the silence would have been the only thing she would've heard.

"What do you want me to do, Liv? I can't fix them." He replied with a defensive tone, but she knew that he felt even more helpless than he already had. He had spent so much time trying to restore the somewhat broken relationships that he had with his children only to have to restart the process all over again. Olivia carefully lifted Noah off of her chest and carefully set him back to where he was laying on the back of the sofa. She walked slowly toward Elliot and took his hands into hers.

"Go, be with them, before you lose them any more than you already have. We'll be fine here. It's late anyway." She led him to the door, opening it slightly. She did her best to try to ignore the hesitation in his eyes, giving him a sympathetic smile. He gave a small sigh before grabbing a hold of the door, letting go of her hands.

"I'll call you later." He put his hand around her waist before pulling her closer to him to place a light kiss on her forehead. She gave him another small smile before closing the door behind him. She stood against the door, taking a deep breath, letting the exhaustion overtake her body. She walked back over to Noah, staring at his sleeping form. "Noah, sweetie, let's get to bed." She gently shook him awake and untangled the blanket that was around his body.

"Why did everyone leave? I wanted to show them my new things." He mumbled softly, sleep still present in his voice.

"You can, another day. Maybe when you're not so tired." She chuckled slightly, helping him to stand up then walking with him toward their bedrooms. Even with the constant changing of relationships and situations, Olivia was grateful for one constant she could always count on.

The love she felt for her children.

No thing or person could ever change that or take it away.

XX

Another nightmare caused Olivia to awake once again, trembling with fear and terror. Nightmares weren't uncommon in her sleep schedule, but they seemed to get more and more personal as the night progressed. She wiped the tiny amount of sweat from her face as she began taking deep breaths, continually reminding herself of where she was and how the nightmare wasn't real. A particular routine that she had learned worked the best over the years. She threw the sheets off of her body, sitting up to let her bare feet hit the cold ground. A small yawn escaped her lips, reminding her that she was still exhausted, but she knew that she had to continue her routine if she wanted to fall asleep again peacefully. She went to peek in on Noah, who was still peacefully sleeping, not fighting for his life like he had been in her nightmare. And for that, she couldn't be more grateful. She then walked to the kitchen to prepare some hot tea that had been helping her sleep in nights like these. She could usually handle the different nightmares that ever so faithfully accompanied her sleep, but when they became personal, it became harder and harder to want to go back to sleep. She couldn't stand the thought of having to watch yet another person she cared about so deeply have to fight to survive. And if that meant she had to lose sleep, it would be all worth it.

Once she had prepared the tea, she walked slowly over to sit on the sofa, admiring the Christmas tree that was still up even though Christmas had passed a few days ago. Noah had begged to keep it up, and Olivia had agreed to it with the compromise that it would be put away by the new year. Another reminder that she would have to spread the news of the baby to even more people. She hadn't forgotten that she promised her superiors that she would let her squad of detectives know why things would be working slightly differently for the next few months. They had already been suspicious, and after the Christmas holiday, things seemed to pick up even more, causing Olivia to have to balance the workload accordingly. As much as she was ready for the suspicions to stop, the last thing she wanted was a repeat of the reactions she had already gotten. She knew that her squad always supported her through anything and everything, but the fear would forever be present. She found herself looking at the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree once again, trying to take her mind away from her thoughts. Though she may never admit it aloud, she was grateful that she decided to keep the tree up a little longer. Something about it was calming and peaceful, and it seemed to remind her about the happiness and fullness that was in life itself. Something that she tended to forget about most days but always in awe when the concept finally came to mind.

With a small smile, she arose from the sofa to walk back to her bedroom with her glass of tea still in hand. Once she reached her bedroom, she found her phone vibrating on her nightstand. Picking it up with her still trembling hands, she unconsciously rolled her eyes when she saw who it was.

"Elliot." She answered in a whisper, sitting on the edge of the bed with the tea in her hand.

"You're supposed to be sleeping." His low whisper purred against her ear, and she rolled her eyes once again.

"Well, that makes two of us." She took a sip of her tea before setting it down on the nightstand. "So, what's this? I don't hear from you for a few days and then you just happen to be awake at three in the morning too?" She looked at her clock for the first time to check the time, surprised at the result she found.

"I guess you could say three in the morning is my only free time these days. Or any hour that the world is sleeping and I'm not." He spoke, and Olivia gave a small sigh. Even after promising to call after the Christmas holiday, this was the first time they had spoken since that night. She was hoping it was because he was trying to work things out with his children while trying to balance things at work, but only one could hope. Olivia still felt guilty for ruining their Christmas holidays, but she was also thankful that she had told them as soon as she did because they at least had multiple weeks to think this all over and either come around or distance themselves.

"Hm, I hope that means you're working on things with your children." She spoke her thoughts out loud, fiddling with the string that was attached to her tea bag.

"Trying to. I think they're still disappointed in me, but I think they'll slowly come around." A small moment of silence filled the room before Elliot spoke again. "So, what's got you awake at this ungodly hour?" He asked, and she could tell he had a grin plastered on his face by the tone in his voice. She hesitated telling the truth, knowing he would want to know every detail.

"Just the faithful routine of nightmares." She breathed, tears brimming her eyes as the nightmare seemed to start replaying different parts inside her head. "You know, I'm a bit pissed off at all of those pregnancy books I bought. They never mentioned nightmares to be a part of this process." She chuckled, trying to lighten the mood a bit. She also hoped by changing the subject would steer away the millions of questions he had in his mind.

"That's how you know you're the special one. And just so you know, they say talking about it helps." He pushed just as she knew he would. She was grateful he was trying to help, but it bothered her all in the same.

"Not true. It just makes you have to relive it all." She huffed, setting her tea on the nightstand before laying back down. "I want one of us to be able to sleep peacefully tonight."

"You and I both know that we both haven't gotten a full night's sleep in ages."

"Well, at least I won't have to feel guilty to be the cause of it." She chuckled again as another yawn escaped her lips. "I better let you go. I know we both have to be up in a few hours."

"I hope you're able to find better rest. And Liv?"

"Yes?"

"I love you."

"I..I love..you, too. Goodnight." She hung up the phone and put it back on her nightstand. She didn't find herself hesitating because she didn't love him, she really did deep down. She only hesitated because she only hoped he meant what he said.

And with that, she turned over slightly in hopes to get better rest for the remaining hours of the early morning.

Chapter Text

January

She wished she could just turn around and walk away.

Olivia never found herself putting up an internal fight to show up at work, except for a few times she could count on one hand. The new year had just recently rolled in, which had the whole city of Manhattan throwing multiple celebrations. It never seemed to fail that with multiple celebrations came multiple crimes, leaving every single member of the NYPD working tirelessly to get behind the crimes committed. But, that wasn't the reason for Olivia's current internal conflict. Even though there had been many promises broken in the previous year, one after another it seemed, she wanted to start the new year by at least keeping a promise she had made to her superior officers and tell her squad of detectives about how life was about to change in one of the biggest ways possible. For the better, she would continually tell herself every time that her mind reminded her of the big change that was coming. Very soon, no matter the circumstances, there would be a small, innocent, and beautiful new life in her arms. The thought of it never failed to put a smile on her face but stirred up fear all in the same. As excited as she was, it terrified her to bring such an innocent being into the world in which she lived in and saw every day. The world where anything bad could happen in a matter of seconds. Though she had raised Noah, and the same fear never seemed to go away with him either, things seemed different when she thought about this new baby. She felt as if she had given Noah a fighting chance or as if she had saved him from the minor cruelties of his early life, but of course, she always would have the same worry about such an innocent being in a cruel world. Yet, something still seemed different. He was chosen for her to love and protect, and she couldn't be happier. But, this time around, she had chosen to create this life inside her, no matter if she thought it wasn't possible. She would be the first one to introduce the new baby to the world around her and everything that came with it.

And that's what scared her the most.

Taking a deep breath, she stepped off of the elevator and walked into the infamous squad room, being greeted by the faces of her fellow detectives. They didn't notice her at first; they seemed to distracted by an egg delicacy that everyone had just recently discovered from a bakery across the street from the building. As she was walking towards them, she had to soon stop in her tracks as soon as the smell of the eggs consumed her body. She felt her body start to feel warm, and the all to familiar feeling of saliva climbed her throat. As if all of the other symptoms weren't bad enough, this is something that bothered her the most. It seemed like every time she walked in a room, some aroma would cause the cycle of nausea would start again. It almost made her grateful there were days she couldn't smell at all, even though that was an equal annoyance. She started digging in her purse for some candies that usually calmed the nausea, but she soon remembered that she had forgotten to put them back after needing them at home. Taking deep breaths, she tried to take small steps closer to them before all of them took notice of her.

"Hey Captain, we saved you some breakfast." Kat greeted her first, trying to hand her the newly discovered treat. Still suffering through the waves of nausea, Olivia held her hand up with a polite smile.

"Those are officially banned from this squad room." She took another deep breath once the waves seemed to calm down. "And so is eating them and not getting any work done. What do we have today?" She started walking to her office with all three detectives on her heel as Kat scrambled to get rid of the food. Olivia sat at her desk and opened it, gratefully finding some leftover peppermint candies she had saved in case of emergencies.

"Pippa Scott, a seventeen-year old female, was reported missing last night after she didn't come home from a party that was thrown on New Year's Eve. We were told it was a party thrown by some college friends of Pippa's best friend, Megan Edwards." Amanda recited the details as she handed Olivia the case file, crossing her arms as she stepped to the other side of the desk. As Olivia opened the folder, another innocent life looked up at her.

"Then why are we not out looking for her? Why are we just standing around eating food when we could be out looking for her?" Olivia unconsciously snapped at her fellow detectives, or at least, it's what she'd like to believe happened. God, if they didn't suspect something already, they definitely suspect something now. The calm faces staring at her had now become somewhat worried faces as they seemed to be searching for an answer.

"There were just too many dead leads we were chasing, Liv. The officers told us that they would let us know if somethin' came up." Fin walked over toward her desk as he gave an explanation. Olivia just gave a small nod and continued to look over the case file as the other all too familiar feeling of the pang of guilt took over her chest. She knew she needed to say something quick; they deserved to finally know the truth. The truth behind the emotional rollercoaster she's put them through, the lies that she's had to tell, the..

As if on cue, once again, her nerves began to stir up the nauseous feeling she thought she had finally escaped. It was much more forceful this time, almost as if it wanted to accompany what she was going to have to say. Breathing deeply, popping another peppermint candy in her mouth, she was finally able to begin her words.

"There's something I have to tell all of you..something that I thought I would never, ever have to tell you. I'm..I..I'll be right back." Olivia almost jumped from her seat once the waves of nausea never seemed to calm and walked to the nearest restroom. The other three detectives still stood in her office, trying to put all of the pieces together to figure out what was going on.

"Something tells me that wasn't the big news." Kat spoke with a sigh as she sat down in the chairs that sat in front of Olivia's desk. Amanda rolled her eyes at the young detective as she felt a small smile form on her lips when she realized her suspicion may have been right the whole time.

"Look, I know I've known her the longest, but anyone could look at her the past few days and weeks and know somethin' ain't right." Fin walked over to stand in the doorway and looked out into the squad room, keeping an eye out for Olivia's return.

"Yeah, something's definitely up. I'm going to go check on her." Amanda tried to slyly walk out of the office before Fin stopped her by gently grabbing her arm.

"Woah Rollins, slow down there. We need to wait for her to come back." He chastised good-naturedly, leading her body back into the office.

"I'm just going to check up on her, I promise. I just want to make sure she's okay and doesn't need emergency intervention." She lied through her teeth with a small smile, knowing Fin would give in at that moment. "Kat can even come with me and be my witness." He playfully blocked the doorway keeping them from going out before letting them go. Once they had finally walked inside the restroom, they could hear a toilet flushing from the only stall that was closed. Olivia soon came out with tousled hair and paler skin, and her eyes grew wide once she saw who had followed her into the bathroom.

"You know, I've heard of girls following other girls into the bathroom. But, it's usually when a group of teenagers is being talked about." She walked over to the sink to freshen up a bit and both female detectives stood behind her.

"I just wanted to be the first one to offer my congratulations." Amanda was the first to speak up in hopes that her suspicions were true. Of course she knew.

"For what? Getting sick?" Olivia chuckled sarcastically before popping yet another peppermint into her mouth.

"Come on, Liv. After having two children of my own, it's almost like I can sense when someone is expecting a baby from a mile away." Olivia tried her best not to allow her blood to boil with anger once again as Amanda gloated with a sly smile across her face. She looked up into the mirror as she was washing up, giving her a silent glare.

"Wait, you're having a baby? How?" Kat finally spoke with a baffled, yet happy, expression on her face.

"I think you're old enough for me not to explain that to you, detective." Olivia chuckled slightly and caught sight of Amanda's smile growing wider once she realized that the conclusion to all of her suspicions were true.

"I don't mean for this to sound rude, but aren't you a little past the childbearing years?" She inquired again in a lower whisper, and Olivia couldn't help but chuckle again.

"Thank you for pointing out the obvious." She turned to face them again with a small sigh. "Don't worry, it's something I think about everyday. And yet, even when I reach a conclusion, I still can't understand how all of this is possible." They walked out of the bathroom together, and Olivia felt as if a burden had been lifted from her shoulders. She no longer had the worry of her coworkers turning against her or being unaware of the new changes that were about to take place. Whether it meant holding a baby in the end or not, she knew she could count on her closest friends to get through every rollercoaster of each new season that would take place.

"Y'all okay?" The sound of Fin's voice washed Olivia away from her thoughts once they arrived back in the squad room. She stopped in her tracks, realizing that he still didn't know about her pregnancy. He even looked somewhat worried as he walked over towards them, and Olivia searched for the words to say. Her nerves stirred in her body once again, and she did her best to prevent another episode of nausea. In all honesty, Fin was someone she was most nervous to tell the news to. They had been through some challenging things together, both good and bad. She loved him deeply like a brother, and she never wanted to do anything to jeopardize their relationship. Not only did they have a close relationship, but he also had a long-lasting relationship with Elliot. Though the two of them had their differences and rocky patches at times, she knew deep down that they would do anything for one another, especially when it involves her.

And she could only pray to God that Fin wouldn't kill Elliot after he found out she was pregnant with his baby. If it were a choice, she would never tell a soul, especially him. Although, she knew that he would already know without being told by her or anyone else.

"Well, I guess you missed the big news. Fin, I'm pregnant." She just let the words roll off her tongue and hoped for the best. Although she knew he would be happy, the concept of having to tell people this was still foreign and petrifying to her. His lips formed into a huge grin, and he immediately pulled her in for a hug.

"Congrats girl. I'm happy for you." Olivia smiled back at him and couldn't be more grateful in the moment. Everything was finally off of her chest, and she finally felt like she could enjoy this journey for once. Enjoy it for the moment, anyway.

"You better go get more acquainted with that desk in there. I know they've already ordered you to desk duty by now. Plus, I don't want my future godchild in harm's way for the time being." Amanda spoke once again once everyone started heading back to their desks to continue the work day.

"Hold up, who said you're the godparent?" Fin quipped as he sat back at his desk.

"I just did." She smiled widely once again, continuing their banter.

"You can all be the godparents, for all I care, just please get back to work." Olivia rolled her eyes with a smile as she walked back into her office.

XX

After helping Noah settle in for the night, Olivia trailed into the living room to continue taking down Christmas decorations. They had bought so many, and even with her somewhat lighter work schedule, the decorations had to come down a little bit at a time. She always found the best time to be right after everything had quieted down for the evening, if she wasn't too tired of course. It would help her mind to unwind as she took each piece into her own hands before placing it carefully into a storage bin to save for the next time they would be used. Something that she felt like she could control. Control had been a very big aspect of her life for a very long time, especially the last few years. Even if there we multiple things going on around her that she couldn't control, she always wanted to focus on the important things that she could control. She soon started to think about Elliot's words that always seemed to be repeated from his lips every time they spoke. "I don't want to lose you." Though a relationship consisted of two people, and two people could control the fate of the relationship, she hated how those words made her feel that the fate of their relationship was pushed onto her. She would do everything in her power not to let their relationship crumble, no matter how afraid she was. Yet, she couldn't help but continually wonder if he would feel this way if she didn't have his baby inside her. She wondered if he would just use her emotions and lability anytime he needed it and continually walk in and out of her life. She hoped that she would never have to find out and she could only pray for continued growth, whether it be for their relationship or for herself.

She then thought back to Christmas and all of the reactions that she received from his children. The way that Eli stormed out and the way the others stood mostly silent. She hadn't heard from any of them, so she was unsure of the current status of their relationship with her. Though this wasn't something she could control either, she wanted nothing more than to be able to make everything okay once again. There was still time left, seven months to be exact, but she was willing to give them as much time as they needed. Even if that meant years down the road.

She could've never planned or expected what she encountered next.

A small knock at the door caused her to jump slightly, and she set down the small tinsel that she had just taken down. She started trailing slowly to the door, trying to filter through her mind who it could be. She knew that the time couldn't be earlier than ten o'clock, making her all the more curious who would be on the other side of the door. She looked through the peephole, almost baffled at what she saw on the other side. When she finally opened the door, the worried eyes of the youngest Stabler daughter looked back into hers.

"Elizabeth? Is everything okay?" Olivia's mind automatically went to the worst situation possible out of habit. It was a rare occurrence that she would find Elliot's children at her doorstep, and when she did, she couldn't help but assume the worst. "What are you doing here so late?"

"C-can I talk to you?" She asked shakily, pulling her coat tighter on her body. Olivia immediately began searching for any signs that she had been harmed or injured. Once she found there was no blood coming from her body, she took a silent deep breath.

"Of course, honey. Come on in and sit wherever you'd like." Olivia opened the door wide as she quickly walked in.

"I'm sorry for barging in at such a late hour, but this seemed like the best time to be able to talk to you." She walked over to the sofa, setting her bag and coat down. "Everyone's asleep or gone out into the night." She chuckled slightly as Olivia took a seat beside her.

"Well, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who feels the same way. It so much seems easier to get everything done in the later hours of the night."

"It really is." She smiled, looking to the floor before taking a long pause. "Plus, I didn't want my dad or siblings to know that I was coming here." She bit her lip slightly and looked to Olivia once again.

"Things are pretty rocky there right now, aren't they?" Olivia put her hand on Lizzie's knee to calm her as she bounced her knee up and down.

"Only somewhat. It's gotten better since the new year rolled in. Dad's really trying to make things better with Eli as well as all of the rest of us, really trying. That's actually what I came here to talk to you about." She stopped before taking another deep breath, and it made Olivia somewhat relieved that everything in the Stabler household were evolving possibly for the better. "I may regret saying this since they're not here, but I can't hold it in any longer. My sisters and I..as well as Dickie, I guess..wanted to let you know that we're here to support you through anything and we want to be there in any way that we can for our newest sibling." Her lips formed into a smile when she finished her sentence, showing her excitement for it all. Tears brimmed Olivia's eyes at her words and she pulled the young girl, or woman, into a large hug.

"Thank you for that. I love you all. So much." Olivia wiped the tears that had been shed, trying her best not to shed any more.

"We're all still a little bit afraid and scared of what is to come, but we're so grateful to be chosen to help bring another life into this world." They both continued to smile at each other, and Olivia pulled her into another hug.

"We can all be excited and afraid together."

And, she wouldn't have it any other way.

Chapter Text

"You know, it's really hard to rest when I'm having to answer the door for your ass." Olivia groused playfully as she held her apartment door wide open. After spending most of her day off feeling more ill than usual, Elliot constantly instructed her to rest and take it easy during their phone conversation, all to which she would roll her eyes at with a small smile on her face. He then promised to come give her a little company during his lunch break if he was able to catch one, of course with the promise of food for the both of them. She tried to fight the idea, promising him that she would be alright after some rest, but he could be very convincing when he wanted to be. She knew she desired to talk to him face-to-face for the first time in a while, but she couldn't help but want to ignore it like dirt being pushed under a rug. Although, she knew that never helped any type of relationship flourish, no matter what state it may be in.

"I guess it's a good thing I brought some food then." Elliot proudly held up the paper sack he had brought before setting it on the bar area where they would sit. "Here, sit." He pulled out the chair closest to them before helping her to sit down. She held on to his cool hand tightly, trying to ignore the her head starting to spin a bit. She began to try to focus on everything going on around her, and she could tell that she worried Elliot a bit when he continued to stand over her even after she had sat down.

"Hmm, you make it too easy to forgive your actions. Food works for almost everything." She began to help him sort everything out as they both chuckled at her statement. She began to feel at ease around him, more than she had in awhile. Through the small rocky patches that they had been through in the past, and would most likely continue to go through, she couldn't feel more thankful for the ease in the moment. No matter how long it may last.

"I remembered you talking about wanting some pasta this morning, so I decided to fulfill your wishes." He set the bowl of pasta in front of her after grabbing her a bottle of water from the refrigerator. The pleasing aroma filled her nose as she let out a small sigh.

"I guess I can especially forgive you now. Pasta seems to be one of the only things I can tolerate these days. It's like this kid is trying to make me gain weight on purpose." She could see Elliot give a small grin before coming to sit beside her with a bottle of water in his hand.

"You'd still be the most beautiful woman in New York." He slyly tried flattering her with a large smile plastered on his face. She slapped his arm playfully causing him to chuckle once more. "No, actually, the most beautiful in the world."

"I know you didn't come here just to impress me with your teenage flattery." Olivia spoke before putting a bite of pasta in her mouth.

"That was one of the reasons. I guess I'm just trying to keep my family healthy and well-fed." Olivia felt her body slightly cringe and jaw become stiff at his words. She wasn't trying to react this way, but things always seemed more and more confusing with every word that would come out of his mouth. There were moments where she felt as if he was more than ready to explore their relationship deeper, yet there were other moments where she felt as if he was just trying to check all the boxes of being a moral human being. She continued to fiddle with the fork in her pasta as they sat in silence, wanting to address the many things flooding her mind, but she knew that would most likely require multiple days.

"Dr. Jackson called again..she's really wanting me to do the blood test for a genetic screening at my next appointment next week." Olivia finally broke the silence with the most recent thing that had been on her mind, and Elliot looked immediately into her eyes only to be met with the worry that rested in her deep brown orbs. He tried to give her a sympathetic look as his hand stroked her back lightly. He was unsure of what to say or do to calm her nerves, and even if he did, he was sure that she would politely dismiss anything he said.

"I'll be fully supportive of whatever you decide, but I just don't understand the reason of putting yourself through the pain of something that may or may not be accurate." Olivia began to glare at him, causing his heart to drop to the pit of his stomach. He knew that he needed to rephrase his words somehow and quickly.

"It's a blood test, Elliot. Everyone gets them all the time." She replied defensively but still willing to hear what he had to say.

"I mean, not only do you have the temporary pain from the needle, but you then have the emotional pain of waiting to see if everything is truly okay. And then, if everything actually turns out being okay and the tests were inaccurate, you then have the guilt of feeling like you wasted the whole nine months by worrying." He tried to rephrase his concerns, and he could only pray that he was making his case a little better. But, by the looks of it, things were most likely going more downhill than they already were.

"You're not helping, you know." She said in a low whisper as she began to fiddle with her fork once again. "I think it's impossible not to worry anyway, no matter what. I constantly find myself worrying that something is going to be wrong or go wrong. I constantly worry about how I'm going to be a good mother to two children when I barely feel like I can take care of one child while running an entire squad. I constantly worry the consequences of the body changes I'm about to experience within the next few months. And most of all, I constantly worry that I'm going to have to do it all alone." She hadn't meant to say that last part, but the words just seemed to come out. Or did she? The only thing she ever wanted was for all the confusion to be cleared up about everything. Was he all in or was he out? And if he was all in, would he be willing to go at the pace she needed? Some tears slid down her cheeks, and she began to hold her breath intermittently in hopes that no more would be shed.

"I told you I wanted to do this with you, remember? Whatever it takes." He began to stroke her back softly once again, hoping it would stop the tears that slid down her cheeks and reassure her fears.

"I want to do all of this with you, Elliot, I really do. It couldn't make me happier hearing once again that you do too. But, you have to understand..I want things to go a little slower than they seem to he happening right now." This time Olivia's heart dropped into the pit of her stomach as she repeated the words she'd never expect to have to say again, awaiting his reaction.

"You make it seem like I'm some explosion waiting to happen. It's almost like you're wanting to drag things out, so you can wait for me to screw everything up so you can prove to yourself you were right." He started cleaning up everything from their meal, trying to make sense of everything.

"That's not what I said."

"I get why all of this scares you, and I was, and still am, ready to give you the time that we both need to at least have a shot at making this family work. And, maybe you're right, I'm not sure how much longer I can wait for the one-way streets to intersect." They were both staring into each other's eyes once again after he had thrown away all of the remains of their lunch. "I really do want you and all of this, but I have to know that it's truly what you want too. I can't continue wasting my time on this street if it won't get me anywhere." He walked towards her door and gripped the doorknob tight, wanting nothing more than for the confusion to be cleared up as well.

"Elliot.."

"Get some rest. I'll see you next week."

And with that, the door closed softly, leaving the both of them feeling more heartbroken than before.

XX

"Just a small pinch, I promise." The nurse calmly told Olivia as she prepared to draw some blood from her. She unconsciously grabbed Elliot's hand, who was in the chair next to her, watching as the nurse's every action. Much to her surprise, they did see each other once again when he promised they would. There were a few phone calls in between but nothing more than small talk taking place. It was almost if their conversation never took place the other day, and she realized that was something they were both good at. Pushing anything under the rug until further notice or until it became a problem. The process of waiting for something good to happen was always the biggest rollercoaster emotionally and physically. She hated that she couldn't just fall into his arms and run away to a faraway land like how all the fairytales went. She hated that he broke her trust long ago, making it all the more harder to accept many of his possibly changed ways. She especially hated that she learned that trust, whether building or rebuilding, is a long process. And without trust, there can't be anything else. "It may help if you look away." The nurse spoke again, washing Olivia away from her thoughts. She then turned to Elliot's blue eyes, something that seemed to calm her more than she realized. He gave her a small smile before she saw him mouth 'you're doing great.' Was she? Was this truly the best thing she could do? She soon felt the small needle pierce her skin, and before she knew it, everything was over with.

"See, now that wasn't so bad. Let me just get you bandaged up and then Dr. Jackson will be in here to see you." The nurse said cheerfully as she wrapped a bandage around Olivia's arm before throwing away the supplies and taking the vials of blood from the room.

"You were right, what was I thinking? I'm already worried enough as it is, why would I do something to make myself more worried?" Olivia broke the silence in the room as she went to sit on top of the examination table from the chair. Elliot stood up to help her before letting out a small sigh.

"It makes sense why you would want to know these things. But, think about how beautiful this new life is going to be, no matter what. Everything you've ever wanted is within reach." He put her hand in his and gently stroked it with his thumb. Dr. Jackson knocked on the door before greeting the pair with her smiling face.

"It's good to see the both of you again. Did you have a good holiday?" She grabbed her chair from underneath the desk beside them and began to get her things ready to take notes.

"We did." Olivia smiled, looking up at Elliot. Except for the fact that now all of the children probably hate us for turning their world upside down.

"That's good to hear. And is everything going okay with work and the pregnancy?"

"All of my superiors and squad of detectives know about it if that's what you're referring to." Olivia said, causing Dr. Jackson to chuckle a bit.

"Well, that's good to know, but I was actually referring to your physical state of how you're handling everything."

"I guess I'm managing. All of my physical symptoms get out of hand at times, but it's nothing a little rest won't fix." Dr. Jackson carefully wrote down everything Olivia said, trying to decide the next best steps.

"Everything sounds like it's going as expected, and your vitals look really good today, especially your blood pressure. So, let's take a look at baby now." As Dr. Jackson began to prepare her for the ultrasound, her heart began to beat faster than usual. Not only would Dr. Jackson be looking at the baby, but she would also be trying to check for any abnormalities that she may see. Though Olivia knew she was most likely doing that in their previous ultrasounds, the only thing that Olivia cared about was if she saw a viable baby growing on the screen. That was all she still wanted, but the thought of something possibly being wrong scared her to death. She knew she would forever live with the guilt of even getting pregnant at the age she was, no matter how much she loved this baby. As always, she cringed slightly at the cool gel being applied to her bare skin, and her heart continued to beat out of her chest as Dr. Jackson started to move the probe around.

This ultrasound was different.

There wasn't just a small blob on the screen anymore; there was an actual forming baby within her. She watched as the little one squirmed around on the screen in front of her. And of course, those damned hormones seemed to take over every time as she felt some tears slide down her cheek. Of course, how stupid was she to blame her hormones? She was happy, truly happy once again. Their baby was still healthy and growing, and nothing else ever seemed to matter anymore. The rocky and difficult process that she and Elliot were going through suddenly seemed worth it all over again, and for that, she was happy. So damn happy. She vaguely heard Dr. Jackson ask if they wanted to hear the heartbeat, and she felt her head nod unconsciously. The rhythmic sound soon filled the room, and Olivia's happiness also elevated to the highest level possible.

"Everything looks how it should at the eleven week mark as far as measurements go, but we'll also go ahead and take a look at your blood work and let you know." Dr. Jackson gave Olivia the printed pictures before helping her get cleaned up. Everything seemed to go by in a blur, but Olivia was elated to be able to keep most of the evidence of what they experienced in hand. "I want to see you back in a few weeks, and we'll be sure to let you know the results from the blood test." Dr. Jackson said before bidding her goodbyes to the both of them.

'Thank you." Olivia said with a smile before getting herself situated again to leave the office.

"The baby's really grown..in such a short amount of time too." Elliot spoke as he helped Olivia off of the examination table, helping her start to gather her things.

"I told you the pasta has an effect." Olivia quipped, causing the both of them to laugh a little.

"You're very right." He smiled, gently grabbing her arm before she could walk out of the room. "And, time has an effect too. The baby is growing bigger and stronger every day, and will continue to grow, and time isn't going to slow down. No matter how much you may want it to. You have to understand that, too." He whispered softly, and she suddenly realized he was referring to their previous conversation. 'Not here', she mouthed with a glare in her eyes.

"Let's go, Elliot."

Maybe they could compromise somehow.

But, then again, not everyone can always be happy.

Chapter Text

They both found themselves back at her apartment later that afternoon after a long, silent car ride. Olivia clung tightly to the ultrasound photos that she had received before walking to the refrigerator to replace the first ones with the latest ones. She ran her finger over them once again with a smile, and she began to get excited to show Noah later in the evening and watch him light up with happiness like he had done before. She watched as Elliot paced in a circle, running his hand over his face with a sigh. She began to once again reminisce on their days as partners. The many times of waiting in silence for another answer to help solve their case, how she could just watch his every move and become instantly calm. She wasn't sure how, but every methodical step he took would bring an unexpected wave of peace that she needed. She prayed that same wave of peace would come again as she sensed tensions rising in the room.

"Elliot, please say something." She was finally able to muster out a sentence; a sentence she wasn't even sure she was ready to say. He finally looked over to her before walking closer to her.

"I feel that I've already said everything that I need to say." He had a good way of blocking her from his thoughts when he wanted to, and she wished she could understand why. She continued to look in his eyes as if she was trying to fish for some sort of answer.

"All I asked for was time. I do care about you a lot, Elliot, but I just want to continue to process everything. We've both had a lot of hurt and loss in our lives, so I want to continue to work through it together." Olivia tried to explain calmly, breaking her gaze to watch the rain patter on the small window in the apartment.

"And you know what, Olivia? I don't think that would be as complicated if there wasn't a baby in the mix of all of this. I want to be able to have all of my family together and happy. But, if you're not going to let that happen, please let me know now." And, once again, he was putting their fate on her shoulders. She hated that he felt like he had to do that, that damn son of a bitch knew just how to complicate things even more than they were. He knew just how to play her mind just right so that she would say exactly what he wanted her to. Her heart and soul screamed inside her chest as her mind continued to fluster with multiple things; she wanted so badly just to send him away, if that was even possible.

"I guess I still can't help but wonder if this baby would've never existed if you would still be here." Her whispered words caused his face to soften as he watched her eyes fill with tears once again. As much as he would hate to admit it, she was right. He knew that though his ten year absence may have brought him joy and happiness for the most part, it was most likely complete hell for her. He imagined sleepless nights as she tossed and turned wondering if there was something different she could have done. He imagined countless tears as she constantly made the decision to go to that same squad room every day, putting her into more misery than he could ever imagine. He imagined her anger at him and at the universe for putting her through so much hurt and pain. But she was always the strong one. He could never discredit the amount of strength she has shown and growth she has experienced because of his absence, but he could never forgive himself for everything that had happened because of it. "It wasn't all bad, you know. Pain, hurt, and grief were only parts of the story. I gained a family, gained and lost relationships, and became a superior officer for a squad that I love." Olivia spoke as if she was reading his mind. He then began to imagine her strength, courage, and empathy as she worked up the ranks in the squad. He then began to imagine her becoming a mother for the first time; he imagined it coming so naturally to her as she navigated caring for Noah. Picturing it all almost brought him to his knees in front of her, but knowing it may cause more of an issue, he stood firmly in front of her.

"Liv, I.." His tone trembled, but she soon interrupted him.

"I know a baby complicates things a little bit, but I want to continue to help our friendship and relationship, or whatever this is, to grow stronger as we continue to work through things. That's what our family needs, right?" She took his hands into hers, hoping she could convey the right message to him. Our family, hearing her use those words made Elliot the happiest man he had been in a while. Maybe she was coming around, he thought. She understood why he was ready to go all in with this, but she hoped that he could understand why she wasn't. They were continuing to work through their relationship previously before she had become pregnant, and she didn't want things to change due to all the changes that had taken place.

"I'm here, and I'm ready..you all are everything I ever wanted." He tried putting his trembling hand on her cheek before she apologetically pulled it away. She watched as the hurt and confusion grew in his eyes.

"I just don't know if I'm ready to love and trust you like you deserve. You have to give me a chance to get to that point." She spoke through gritted teeth, raising her voice a bit.

"Oh, cut the crap, Liv! Just admit you don't want me in that way, just go ahead and say it!" He yelled as he walked away from her, going to look over at the window as the rain fell harder. He took some deep breaths, trying not to let anymore emotion show. He felt her slowly creep upon him once he had calmed a bit more.

That's when she did the unthinkable and unexpected.

Next thing he knew, her lips were crashing against his in a heat of passion. As their hormones raged, and electrical sparks travelled their nervous systems, Elliot couldn't help but feel somewhat of a confusion come over him. He knew that pregnancy caused hormones to rage more than usual, but he also knew that Olivia was just as confused and in pain as he was. Even though they both knew that a heat of passion couldn't fix anything, it always helped them to forget any of the current problems they were experiencing. It was like nothing else even mattered anymore when they both had each other's full attention. It's always what made it so hard for the other person to pull away. His hands found a trail down her ever-changing body, and she let out a small whimper as he touched each sensitive spot. Which seemed to be almost everywhere these days.

"Elliot Stabler, don't you dare ever tell me what I want again." She spoke almost seductively with a smile, refilling her lungs with some deep breaths. He smiled and wanted to go in for more, but he hesitated slightly.

"I knew you would do that." He spoke, still smiling slightly as she bit her lip and looked at the ground. "You're so afraid of me leaving that you can't help but use passion to keep that from happening."

"Can you blame me?"

"I guess the only one to really blame is myself. I really screwed everything up, didn't I?" His tone became a sad whisper, and he saw the sadness grow in her face. "Look, I know you may not be ready to, but when you are, I can't help but continue to wonder if you were truly okay during all that time."

"I wouldn't say I was truly all the way okay, or even happy most of the time, but I'll be sure to tell you how I survived it." She gave him a small smile, and he put his arms gently around her. "One day." She smiled wider as she laid her head on top of his chest, listening to the calming sound of his beating heart. The most prominent sign of life; the symphony that could comfort any worried soul. She began to imagine the day she would tell him what he wanted to know: everything . She thought about how his teeth would clench and how his anger would rise when she spoke about the many volatile situations she found herself in during his absence. She then imagined how his jealous antics would arise when she began to speak about the different relationships she had formed and how many of them were with people he knew. She chuckled slightly to herself before she began to imagine his grief and sadness when he continually realized he wasn't present for any of it.

"Come on, let's go sit down. I don't want you to get dizzy from standing too long." Elliot washed her away from her thoughts, and she looked up at him with a small smile. And then, she began to realize something. Underneath multiple layers of things..

He really was a good man. He always had been, even from the moment they met years ago. He wasn't perfect, by any means, but he was good. Good as a man could get, she thought.

She could learn to trust him again.

Couldn't she?

It was damn worth the try.