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The Lovely

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“I want you to come home.” The words escape her mouth before her brain can register what she’s really saying.

God I sound like a controlling wife…Olivia thought to herself. She didn’t want to, and she certainly didn’t have the *right* to. Having her back to him helped not show her panic. He didn’t comment on it, so she let it slide.

“I intend to.”

He didn’t get it…

“Before it’s too late.” She tried to reinforce her point.

She turned at the fence, he opened it and stepped close to her.

“Liv, I’m being careful.” He tried to reassure her.

Olivia wanted him to really get her message. Still in the moment, she put her hand to his neck, making him stare at her. She tried not to notice his stillness at the contact, the way his eyes soften nor how he leaned into her hand ever so slightly. Before it was too much, she took it back.

“I mean, before Eddie Wagner takes over, and Elliot Stabler is nowhere to be found.” She pleaded with her eyes.

She had noticed how much he changed during the few months of undercover. Some of his reactions surprised her, and she began to think that Eddie Wagner took more and more space in his head. His quick reaction to Navarro, shooting him in plain arrestation. His response when she brought up the involvement of Flutura at the party. She *knew* him. She knew his defense mechanisms, noticed his misplaced anger when he felt guilty.

Elliot took her comment in and stared at her. After a moment, he let a quick laugh escape his lips.

“How do you do that?” he asked softly.

“What?”

“Say the exact right thing, at the exact time I need to hear it?”

She had done so in her car, when she called out his PTSD. She was doing it again, just as he felt he was about to lose himself in his undercover. Elliot was amazed at how she could read him and stop him from making bad decisions just as he was about to.

“I don’t always…” she said, a bit taken aback by his comment.

“You do.” He replied seriously. “I’m the one with the worst timing and never choosing the right words…”

Their thoughts both went back almost a year before, at the failed intervention. Olivia smiled but didn’t reply right away.

“Will you think about it though? Getting out soon?” she asked after a moment.  

Elliot inhaled.

“I have already…that’s why I said that.” He referred to his latest comment.

Olivia nodded, satisfied for now by his answer.

“Being Eddie helps not thinking about Elliot’s failures and problems…but I know it’s not the solution.” He admitted.

“It might take time to readjust, but you’ll get there with time. I know you will.”

Elliot looked at her, taking in her encouragement. He couldn’t believe how she was still standing before him, after what he had put her through. He had so much gratitude and love towards her. He wanted to touch her, to take her in his arm, to never leave her again.

Olivia felt his shift, his emotions radiating from him. He was communicating everything with his eyes. She knew he wanted to say things to her that she wasn’t ready to hear. Not tonight. Not when Eddie Wagner was so present in his head.

Elliot opened his mouth to speak.

“Liv-“

“Don’t.” she whispered, breaking their eye contact. He got the message. Not tonight.

He looked down at their feet.

“I don’t deserve your kindness.” He settled for.

Olivia looked at back him and smiled, grateful for the light turn of the conversation.

“Probably not.”

He smiled too.

She raised her hand again, needing to touch him one more time before leaving, but stopped at his upper arm this time.

“Take care of yourself, Elliot.” She squeezed his arm in a reassuring attempt.

He put his hand over hers, just long enough to convey his thanks, and let her go. Olivia walked back to her car and he closed the fence behind her. He lingered a moment, looking at her figure until she disappeared.