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Always You and I

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“Ok, that’s all of them.” Elliot said as he opened the file folder and placed the stack of papers held in his hand inside.”


“Thank you for indulging me.” Bell said. “I really owe you one. Moennig isn’t too happy with me. I’ve been pushing back against his authority. I’m still not happy with Brewster being in OCCB.”


“It’s fine.” Elliot said shaking his head. “I’ll admit It was irritating. Olivia was hurt, she was shot. If I have an emergency and I say it’s not a good time It should be enough.” He said with annoyance. “but I get it.”


“Ok, I gotta head out.” Bell said putting her coat on and taking the file Elliot handed her. “Denise is already pissed off enough, I want to try and get home before she is in bed.”


Elliot nodded. “I’m sorry if it seems like I gave you a hard time.” He said as he walked her to the door.


“I understand Stabler. That’s your girl, you don’t have to explain it to me” Bell said reaching out and putting a hand on his arm. She opened the door and walked down the front steps. “Have a good night.”


“Night” Elliot responded with a wave before shutting and locking the door. He walked back into the kitchen to grab another syringe of the dilaudid. Olivia was due for another dose soon. He thought about calling Fin, he promised he would let him know how she was doing.


A terrified scream interrupted his thoughts. Elliot was already running towards his room. Olivia was thrashing around, crying and yelling. “No, no, no.” She yelled.


“Liv! Liv, you need to wake up. I’m right here.” He said loudly. He reached out to her and her right arm hit him in the temple.


“Olivia, you’re going to hurt yourself.” He called out. He reached out to her again. Wrapping his hand around her elbow. She swung her arm and hit him in the face. Her fist caught him just below his left eye. He was caught off guard and his vision blurred. When he opened his eyes he saw that she had woken up and she was looking at him with wide eyes. He saw that her breathing was rapid. She put her hand over her mouth and started to cry.


The loud sobs wracked her body. Elliot made it over to her in seconds. “Liv” He said as he knelt in front of her.


She looked at him. “Elliot……” She gasped out. She began to breath in and out faster. “El” she gasped again


Her arm wrapped tightly around his neck and she cried into his neck. He could feel her nails clawing at his back trying to get as close as she possibly could.


He knew she was in a full-blown panic attack. She was gasping trying and failing to say his name.


“Olivia” he said pulling her away from him and holding her by the shoulders. “I need you to listen to me. I need you to take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Just like this. I don’t want you to hurt your shoulder or your ribs” He said demonstrating to her what he wanted her to do.


She continued to gasp and cry. She grabbed for him again. Throwing herself back into his arms. “Elliot, please don’t leave me” She cried out immediately gasping out in pain.


“Liv, careful don’t hurt yourself. I’m right here. I’ve got you. I’m not going anywhere. You’re safe with me.” He pushed her back gently again so he could look at her. “I need you to listen to me. You know exactly what’s happening right now, and you know what you need to do. Just like we’ve done before ok? Slow deep breaths. Look at me, focus on my voice. Baby, Look at me.” He could feel his heart hammering in his chest. Her nightmares and flashbacks were always hard for him. He tried hard to do whatever was needed to get her through them. He knew from personal experiences how scary they were.


She locked eyes with him. She gripped at his shirt. “I can’t…. El… Please help me.” She gasped out.


“Ok, I’m here. Just keep listening to me. Slow deep breaths. In and out, in and out.” He said. Trying hard to keep his voice calm. He placed his fingers on the side of her neck feeling for her pulse. He could feel it rapid beneath his fingers. “Ok, you’re in control here. Slow deep breaths. That’s it, just like that.” He said when he saw that she was mimicking what he was doing. He held her by her good arm for a minute longer watching her breath.


She was drenched in sweat, and her hair was sticking to her face. He could see that her breathing had slowed. Her eyes met his. He could see them fill up with tears again. He gathered her into his arms carefully and pulled her close. “shhhhh” he soothed. “It’s ok, I am right here.” He kissed her temple.


“I’m so sorry I hit you. I am so sorry.” She cried into his shoulder.


“Liv, it’s ok. I’m fine.” He said rubbing circles on her back. “Let’s get you comfortable again, ok?”


She nodded. “I need to use the bathroom.” She said weakly.


“Ok.” Elliot said pulling away from her. “Do you need me to help you?” He watched an expression he couldn’t decipher pass over her face before she squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head vehemently, a violent shiver shook her body. He narrowed his eyes, taking note of everything.


“No, I think I’ll be ok.” She said, her eyes still squeezed shut.


“Liv? Talk to me.” Elliot said softly.


“I hurt all over, I do need you to help me. It’s just my mind is playing tricks on me right now. It’s flashing back to places, things, to times I’d rather not go right now. I trust you; I trust you more than anyone. But I think that’s something I need to do myself.” Another shiver shook her body.


“Ok” Elliot said softly. “You know that I would help you with anything, right? It doesn’t matter what. I would help you with whatever you need.”


“I know El, I know.” She sighed and looked down. “When I was with… When he…” She looked up and briefly closed her eyes. When she opened them, he was watching her, worry showing in his eyes. “Lewis” she clenched her teeth after saying his name. “When I was…. When he… Shit.” She said. Her frustration showing with her inability to voice her thoughts.

Elliot watched as her eyes filled with tears again. He reached out and wiped away her tears and then moved to hold her right hand in both of hers. “You don’t have to explain it to me Liv.” He said looking into her eyes. He put it together in his head that she was thinking back to her time when she was held captive and had to use the bathroom.


“I don’t want you to think I don’t trust you though, because I do. I trust you so much.” She sobbed.


“Liv let’s just get you to the bathroom. I know that you trust me, you tell me what you need me to do ok?” He carefully tried to extricate himself, moving her back cautiously. He got up from his spot on the bed and helped her move closer to the edge of the bed.


She reached out and grabbed his arm. “He would choose when I had bathroom breaks, and my hands were always cuffed behind me. So…..” She trailed off.


Elliot squeezed his eyes shut and brought his free hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Fuck.” He whispered. He looked down into her eyes, noting how tired they look. The warm shine that usually radiated from them absent.


She scooted closer to the edge of the bed and swung her legs over the side. She attempted to stand and gasped out in pain.

“Liv, easy.” He said. He put an arm around her waist and gently helped her stand. “Ok, now hold on to me. Go slow.” He carefully helped her make her way to the bathroom.


“Oh this wasn’t how I thought this night would go.” She groaned.


“Really? What were you anticipating?” He asked curiously.


“Being with you without any kids. Being able to eat adult food that isn’t shaped like smiley faces and dinosaurs. I wanted to drink at least a half bottle of wine and kiss you without any interruptions. I even went shopping in anticipation of our adult evening.” She said as they stopped in front of the bathroom door.


“Somewhat aligns with what I had planned.” Elliot said leaning forward to kiss her. He pushed the door open. “I’ll wait here for you. Hold on to the sink for support. Yell for me if you need help.” He closed the door and stepped away to wait for her. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the velvet box from his pocket. He snapped the box open and looked at the ring inside. He didn’t know the first thing about jewelry, or even how to describe what the ring looked like. It was described as a twisted halo engagement ring, and when he set eyes on it he knew it was the one. He couldn’t explain why, but it just screamed ‘Olivia’ when he looked at it. He closed the box when he heard the toilet flush. He hurriedly stuffed the ring back into his pocket.


He heard the water turn on and then off. “El, can you help me?” She called out.


“I’m right here Liv.” He opened the door and saw her leaning against the wall in obvious pain. He could see the shorts were around her knees and her panties were pulled up but all twisted.


“I tried. It hurts too much, I’m sorry.” She gasped out. Her right arm braced across her abdomen and her left hung to her side in the sling. “This really sucks.”


“You don’t have to apologize.” He said shaking his head. “I do not mind helping you.” He reached forward and fixed her panties and pulled her shorts up.


“Yeah, but this isn’t what you signed up for.” She said, frustration evident in her tone.


“Hey, wouldn’t you do the same for me if I needed it?” He watched as she nodded in agreement and he reached out and cupped he cheek. “I love you. I’m not just here for the good times. I’m here for everything.” He said.


She stepped forward and wrapped her right arm around his waist and she tucked her face into his neck. “Thank you.” She said.


Elliot brought his arms up and carefully wrapped them around her. Trying to be mindful of her injured shoulder and her ribs. “You never have to thank me for loving you Liv.” He said. “You, know that I’m not going anywhere right?” He tried to reassure her as much as he could. Since they’ve been together he’s witnessed many of her nightmares and panic attacks and it hasn’t been the first time she begged him not to leave her.

She grasped at his t-shirt. “I know.” She sighed. “You were there in my dream.” She said “Lewis… he shot you.”


Elliot squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed circles on her back. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m here, for whatever you need. To help with anything, no matter what it is.”


“How come every time we have the opportunity to have a night without kids something happens to one of us or we have to work?” She said “Do we just have bad luck?”


“Well neither one of us has to work right now, so we will still get to be together.” He said.


“Yeah.” She said moving her hand up and down his back. “I just missed you this week. I hardly got to see you.”


“I missed you too.” He replied. They both had a busy week. Both of them had been called back in several times over the course of the week. Kathleen and Elliot’s mother both stepped up to care for Noah and Eli in their absence.


She attempted to burrow deeper into his embrace, forgetting about her shoulder and her ribs. She cried out in pain almost immediately.


Elliot stepped back from her carefully. “I think it’s time to get you back into bed. Maybe time for another dose of your painkillers. Lean on me again.” He said.


“Can’t.” She said through gritted teeth. “Fuck, it hurts.” A wave of dizziness quickly hit her, and she squeezed her eyes shut and swayed on her feet.


Elliot’s arms shot out to steady her. He quickly and carefully picked her up and brought her back to the bed. He gently laid her down, repositioning her pillows. “I’ll be right back.” He quickly made his way to the kitchen where he grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and grabbed another dose of dilaudid off the counter.


He went back into his bedroom to see her where he left her, her eyes squeezed shut and her right arm braced across her midsection. He sat next to her on the bed. “Here you go, open up.” He reached forward with the syringe.


She opened her mouth, and he squirted the syringe contents into her mouth. He quickly opened the water bottle and held it out to her. Holding it just like he did before as she drank. He reached down and pulled the comforter up to her waist and he scooted closer to her. He slipped his left arm carefully behind her back.
She leaned into him, her head on his shoulder. Her right arm reached across his body for his other hand. He grasps her hand in his and brings it up to lips kissing her knuckles.


“Noah is going to ask you to take him to pick out soccer cleats. He doesn’t think I will know which ones will be the right ones.” Her eyes moved to the muted tv. “Is this game 2 or game 3?”


“It’s game 3, they’re playing at Fenway Park.” He nodded towards the tv. Game 3 of the ALDS was playing muted in the background.


“Ahhhh Fenway. America’s most beloved ballpark.” She replied.


“Hey, since when are you a closeted Red Sox fan?’ He asked.


“I like all baseball. Except the Yankees. I don’t like the Yankees. They turned their stadium into the fucking apple store. My mother was a Yankees fan, I always cheered for the Mets just to piss her off.”


“I used to do the same to piss my father off.” He said with a laugh. “I’ll take Noah to get his cleats, that’s not a problem. I’m sure he’ll want the same ones that Eli has.”


“He loves you so much. He idolizes you. The way he looks at you.” She said squeezing his hand.


“I love him too. He’s such a good kid, got a great personality, his Mom’s sarcasm and wit, and he’s a hell of a dancer.” He said leaning down slightly to kiss her temple.


“He’s been having a hard time this week.” She said


“What’s going on?” He asked.


“In his dance class he’s been practicing for a show he has coming up, there’s an older boy that 13 or 14 that’s been picking on him, teasing him.” She said.


“What’s he teasing him about?” He asked unable to keep the defensive tone out of his voice. He already considered Noah his own. He wouldn’t put up with him getting bullied.
She sighed. “He didn’t tell me directly. He told Lucy. Lucy said as an ice breaker the instructor had them each talk about their parents. So, Noah told everyone he was adopted, and he doesn’t have a Dad, and he talked about you. He said that he doesn’t have a Dad but if he did have a Dad, he wished it would be you, so this older boy said he was probably making you up and that you didn’t exist. Noah got really upset and since then this boy has been picking on him.”


“I won’t tolerate him being bullied and picked on Liv. I’ll have Eli kick this boy’s ass. Eli will do it too.” Elliot said through gritted teeth.


“You have no idea how much it means to me that you’re getting so defensive and protective over Noah.” She said.


“Liv, I do know because that’s how I feel when you’re protective of my kids.” He took a deep breath. Maybe this was it. “So, how lucid are you right now?”


He felt her shift away from him. She looked at him, her brow lifted in question. “Well, I think I’m pretty lucid, you want to do a sobriety test on me?” She asked with a smile.


“Ha ha ha very funny Captain Benson.” He thought for a minute. “Ok, ummmm who has caught the most postseason games for a single team in his career?”


“Seriously? That’s how you gauge my lucidity?” She scoffed. “Jorge Posada.”


He laughed nervously. “Maybe I threw you an easy one.”


“You’re definitely not throwing strikes. What’s going on? Why do you need to check if I’m lucid?”


He carefully slipped his hand from behind her. “I had this all planned out, and it didn’t go according to my plans obviously. Now I’ve backed myself into a corner, and I’m feeling a little nervous. There’s a reason why all of sudden the girls wanted to take Noah and Eli to Jersey. A reason why I wanted to take you out tonight, and wine and dine you. I think I thought of everything except you getting hurt today.” He reached out to her and brushed her hair out of her face, tucking it back behind her ear.

“Tell me what you had planned. Tell me all about it.” She squeezed his hand again.


“Ok.” He said. He let go of her hand and he got up off the bed and walked around to her side to sit by her hip, so he could look at her while he spoke. He nervously chewed on his bottom lip.


“Just tell me.” She looked at him intently.