Actions

Work Header

between friends

Chapter Text

A/N: happy birthday, puff!

 

“What are you doing, Stabler?”

 

Elliot cocks his head toward the monotonous voice in the corner. There he finds Jet. She continues typing away like she hasn’t just asked him a question. 

 

“I’m just sitting here,” Elliot responds with a chuckle. He’s behind his desk with his iPhone in both of his hands and he’s actually… not doing anything. His laptop is closed, and he should definitely be working on something, but he isn’t. He’s just… sitting there looking at his now black phone screen.

 

It wouldn’t be so obvious if he weren’t surrounded by diligent coworkers, so he supposes it does look odd. Cho’s back is turned to him, but she’s got a file in her lap, and across from him, Maldonado is on the phone chatting away. 

 

“Yes,” Jet finally says, and Elliot’s chair swivels in her direction. “But you look suspicious,” she claims, smirking at her computer monitor.

 

“Do I?” Elliot feigns surprise, but it does track. He is suspicious. He’s been looking at his phone for ten minutes. 

 

It’s just that the last time Olivia responded ‘K’ it’d taken him the entire day to recover. This time, it's warranted, though. He’s sure she’s angry, and if he’s right, Liv is probably sitting behind her desk, pouting and cursing his name. 

 

He gets it.

 

He rejected her. 

 

It’s a first for them— Elliot denying her? Oh, she’s probably livid… but does he really care if she is? She started this, and he’s tried so very hard to follow her rules , but he doesn’t have to deal with the extreme highs and lows of their relationship. Either she wants him or she doesn’t, and it’s about time he’s stood up for himself.

 

He’d rather go home on Friday night and sit in front of the television with Bernie. Just like he’s got planned for tonight and all the nights following. Bernie’s promised him and Eli a home-cooked meal, and he’d much rather have a tame night with his family, than the alternative…

 

The alternative would be seeing Olivia. It’ll probably lead to them fucking, yeah, and then there's a very great possibility of fighting, and he’s not doing that again— whispering angrily at her as her son sleeps across the hall. They’re already on rocky ground and maybe, God— he can’t believe he’s found himself here… 

 

Maybe the best thing for them right now is distance. 

 

Going to her place? Bad decision, he tells himself. 

 

“You sure you okay, Stabler?”

 

Elliot forces a smile, and the haze of his thoughts clears away. “Are you concerned?”

 

“Always, Stabler,” Jet responds, but he can’t tell if she’s going for sarcasm or not. He takes in the profile of her frown, and he chuckles quietly to himself. She reminds him of his daughters.

 

“Thanks, I guess.”

 

Jet rolls her eyes over to him to look at him. “You sure you okay? You know how I hate the ‘something is wrong’ face.”

 

Elliot shrugs. “Just got a lot going on.”

 

“Would it happen to have anything to do with the lady you were texting the other day?” Jet smirks.

 

“A lady?” Maldonado asks from across the room. Now he’s got his nose in a folder and a fresh cup of coffee in his hand, and all Elliot can see is the top of his head, but the other man asks, “Since when?”

 

“Since when what?” Elliot huffs with a frown.

 

Maldonado pulls the folder down. “Stabler, I don’t mean to be intrusive but are you dating?” 

 

Elliot’s brows crinkle harder. “What?” he coughs out. 

 

“Wow,” Jet mutters to herself. “Thought you’d be lonely for a lot longer.”

 

“That’s sweet,” Cho says, chiming in. She turns to offer Elliot a sincere smile. “How long have you been dating?”

 

“Is there just one lady? Or are you playing the field?” Maldonado asks seriously. “I can hook you up. I know older women. Hot ones. Milfs .”

 

Before he can answer, Sergeant Bell breezes through and heads straight for her office. “What’s up, people. Morning,” she says under her breath, but she continues to beeline forward, probably already busy.

 

“Bell,” Elliot calls, standing to his feet. “Sorry guys.” He’s done with this conversation, so he eagerly follows after his boss, walking into her office and trailing behind her, leaving all their questions unanswered. He shuts the door, finds a wall to lean onto, and sighs. 

 

Across from him, Ayanna does the same while dropping into her chair. “Long morning,” she bristles, both of her hands meeting on top of her head. Her braids are pulled back into a ponytail and she closes her eyes for a moment. 

 

“You alright over there, Sarge?”

 

“My birthday is coming up,” she reminds him, blinking her eyes open to focus on him. “I’m having a party, remember?”

 

“I remember,” Elliot lies. He’s still got to get her a gift.

 

“My wife won’t be in attendance,” Ayanna explains with another sigh. “Guess she doesn’t want to lie to our friends and family.”

 

Elliot's mouth twitches as he fights a small smile. Feels comforting knowing he’s not the only one dealing with these issues, but she doesn’t need to know that. “You know,” he starts, rubbing the back of his head. “Kathy and I separated once or twice.”

 

Ayanna sits up, looking for more advice, but Elliot just shrugs.

 

“It was difficult,” he grunts, “but we got back together every time. You know… if it’s meant to be and all that shit.”

 

Ayanna is unimpressed with his advice, but amused. “You’re not good at this.”

 

Elliot flashes her a small grin and shrugs his bulky shoulder once more. “Either she wants to be with you or she doesn’t.”

 

“You don’t like her anyway, Stabler,” Ayanna accuses.

 

“No. She doesn’t like me. Admit it.” Elliot leans forward, both eyebrows arched, and Ayanna nods. “So at least it’s mutual. She took your kid and left without a word. That’s fucked up. I’ve been there.”

 

“Yeah, it is,” Ayanna agrees. “I want her there though. I miss her. I miss my family.”

 

“All you can do is ask and respect her answer,” Elliot says and in the back of his head, he’s laughing at himself. He’s making it all sound so simple when it isn’t. It never is.

 

“You’re right,” Ayanna sighs. “So what did you need, Stabler?”

 

“I think… I think I need a few days,” Elliot says. 

 

Ayanna frowns. “Oh yeah? You okay?”

 

“I’m fine. Just thinking about taking a few days…” 

 

Space, he reminds himself. Olivia has set her boundaries, and it’s time for him to do the same. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be able to hold out being in the same city as her. Getting out of town, he’ll be able to break this cycle with Liv, and he’s hoping that by the time he gets back, they will be able to communicate like two rational adults.

 

“For what? Vacation? Personal? What’s up?”

 

Elliot presses off of the wall and slowly walks to the empty chair in front of Ayanna. “I don’t know. Maybe take a trip?  I told Eli we’d go fishing soon. Maybe I could convince him…”

 

You fishing? Ha!” Ayanna snickers to herself. “Can’t see it.”

 

“Rude,” he snaps back playfully.  

 

“You okay?” Ayanna asks again, once they’ve both stopped laughing.

 

“Yes. Just need a change of scenery,” Elliot explains, swiping his hand over his beard. 

 

Ayanna narrows her eyes at him, and he can already anticipate her round of questioning.

 

“How are the kids?” she asks.

 

He keeps it short and sweet. “Fine.”

 

“Bernie?”  

 

“Fine,” he answers quickly. 

 

“Olivia?”

 

Elliot shrugs.

 

Ahh,” Ayanna says with a chuckle. “Got it.”

 

“It’s not like that.”

 

“What’s it like?” she asks, grinning.

 

“I don’t know. We just can’t seem to figure it out…”

 

“How hard can it really be?” Ayanna asks, smirking his way. "You turn red when she looks at you. Did you know that?” 

 

Elliot shakes his head. “No.” That’s embarrassing. “I don’t.”

 

“You do. And working with you two isn’t all that fun. You kind of lock in and tune everyone else out,” Ayanna continues. “And then you talk without talking, and if you were asking me, I’d say there’s something there. There’s something there, for sure.”

 

Elliot nods, but he doesn’t respond. Olivia would hate having anyone know anything about them.

 

Taking note of his silence, Ayanna shakes her head. “Sorry. Am I overstepping?”

 

“Nah, nothing like that.” Olivia is going to absolutely kill him for this. “I agree with everything you said.”

 

“You know, I hear SVU is understaffed, and they have Fin out on vacation for two weeks,” Ayanna says casually. “Apparently she’s been asking for more men, and McGrath is making her work with what she has. Nobody wants to work at SVU, and a posting has been up for weeks. I can’t imagine the stress…”

 

“Oh yeah?” Elliot asks, pretending not to know anything about it.

 

“I know you want to take a trip and things around here have been a little slow, but what I think is that you both need a change of scenery…” Ayanna pauses, but then she gives out an uncharacteristic, “Aww.” 

 

“What?”

 

“Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s sweet. Ten years, no contact. Then you come back, and you’re both confused. I don’t know. Sounds like a romantic comedy to me.”

 

“You watch those?”

 

“Maybe,” Ayanna says with a shrug. “Maybe you could give them a hand? As long as I don’t need to be worried about losing you to SVU, I’m more than happy to sign off on it. You guys work together and sparks fly again...”

 

“No,” Elliot answers instantly. “That’s okay.”

“You sure?”

 

“I’m sure,” he confirms. “I just told you, we are barely speaking.”

 

“Maybe it’s what you need?” Ayanna proposes. “You work so well together. Maybe she needs to be reminded of that?”

 

He’s not budging. “ No .” 

 

“Think about it,” Ayanna says encouragingly. “We can loan you for a few days, maybe a week? I’ll shoot an email over to Brewster to give him a heads up. Maybe send you over there by Monday?”

 

“Hmm,” he grunts. For a moment he imagines walking into SVU and answering to Olivia as his commanding officer, and then he realizes a shitstorm would surely follow and…

 

No .” 

With just the thought of her, he looks down at his phone out of habit, and this is just ridiculous. Tucking his phone into his pocket, he realizes he needs to do better.  

 

Olivia’s probably going to pull away from him now anyway… so, maybe Bell is right? Perhaps he needs to go with an alternate plan other than running away with his kid for the week? Historically speaking, they’ve never done well communicating what they really need and want when they’ve avoided each other. If they have a chance of making a future together, maybe they need to try something different. Maybe he needs to respect the boundaries and have Olivia see him every day.

 

She did mention being understaffed and stressed, and that’s probably been playing a part in the break in their relationship, too. She’s stressed.

 

“I think you both need this nudge,” Ayanna tells him.

 

“What? Go work with her and have her hate me more when I won’t listen to her ?”

 

“Yeah, you do have the tendency to not listen,” Ayanna laughs. “Hmm,” she wonders, touching the mouse pad on her laptop. “What if,” she starts, inputting her log in information. “What if you invite her to my birthday? It’d be nice to see her.”

 

“Are you a matchmaker now?” Elliot asks with a playful frown.

 

“Just trying to help a friend. You deserve to be happy is all I’m saying. Think about it some more. Let me know. I’ll set it all up.”

 

“Will do,” he says. His phone vibrates, and he plucks it from his pocket.

 

11:08 AM Olivia so what do you have planned then?

 

11:08 AM Olivia since you’re too busy for me?

 

“Shit,” falls out of Elliot’s mouth, and Ayanna’s head snaps up.

 

“What?” she asks, her eyebrows bunching together in a frown. “What the hell is going on with you, Stabler?”

 

“Nothing,” Elliot lies, rolling his shoulders. He stands to his feet abruptly. “Thanks, Sarge. Lunch on me today,” Elliot says absently, walking out of her office while looking at his phone. 

 

Shit.

 

Looking up, he finds Maldonado, Cho, and Jet all staring back at him once he gets to the last step outside of Bell’s office.

 

He’s not going through that again. 

 

He has more important things to worry about.

 

11:09 AM Elliot Just spending time with the kids. 

 

He doesn’t even know if the kids are available this weekend, but it’s the safest answer.

 

11:10 AM Olivia I’m not asking for your whole weekend, El

 

Fuck. The urge to give in instantly makes his fingers tremble.

 

Going to her place is not an option, he reminds himself.

 

11:10 AM Elliot Let’s meet in public

 

Elliot makes it down the long corridor toward the entrance of OCCB, but he doesn’t leave. Instead, he paces there until his phone goes off again.

 

11:11 AM Olivia I don’t want to

11:11 AM Olivia don’t you miss me?

 

It looks like she isn’t as angry as he thought she’d be. Again. It seems like he’s always wrong when it comes to her lately. If she isn’t angry with him, and she doesn't want to meet in public, it could only mean one thing.

 

11:12 AM Elliot Liv.

 

11:12 AM Olivia what? you don’t miss me?

 

He knew it. He sees exactly what this is.

 

11:13 AM Elliot you know I do.

 

Olivia answers instantly.

 

11:13 AM Olivia I miss you too. insanely.

 

Insanely? Elliot adjusts his tie and continues his pacing as he weighs his options again. Would it really be that bad if he just— YES , his internal voice screams. It would be that bad.

 

He wants to agree to it, but he clears his voice and types out the mature response.

 

11:15 AM Elliot Liv, I’m at work, and I would love to speak with you, but I need to put all of my focus into what I’m doing here. Let me know when you get home and we’ll talk then?



 

Olivia doesn’t respond after that last text.

 

The days after pass slowly. OCCB is still immersed in paperwork, and the days have become monotonous. Something he’d usually appreciate, but it just gives him too much time to think and sort out his feelings.

 

Yes, he’d been hesitant at first to admit he was ready to date. Well, not date date, but that he was ready to explore the potential of what he and Olivia have always had. He’d been aware of how it’d look, of how people who’d always had these thoughts about them, of all the rumors, of the memory of his wife. Kathy had been right about them, and it doesn’t feel particularly good knowing that he’d been lying to her, to himself, for years. 

 

The guilt, though, is small in comparison to how big the loneliness has become.

 

Friday evening rolls around, and he’s in sweatpants sitting on the couch alone. He’d spent the evening with Mama, and they’d eaten a quiet dinner, bickering fondly over cordon bleu until she was having her evening cigarette while he washed dishes. She’d gone to bed over an hour ago to read, she’d said, but he suspects she’s already snoozing.

 

Eli isn’t home, of course. He always has plans now, so as Elliot snacks on nuts and as the television watches him, he can’t shake the feeling of regret. He’d felt triumphant in the moment, giving Olivia a dose of her own medicine, but now he feels silly.

 

He could’ve been spending the evening with her tonight, but instead, he’s alone with a warm beer and ESPN. 

 

8:14 PM Elliot Hey how are you?

 

It’s friendly enough. It’s not like he’s as upset as he had been. He’s still tired of being dicked around, but... he misses her.

 

He’s flipping through the channels again, looking for something more entertaining before his phone beeps.

 

8:30 PM Olivia fine

 

Oh, that he understands. Married for thirty years with three daughters, he knows what fine means.

 

He knows why she’s upset, but still, he texts—

 

8:30 PM Elliot What’s the problem?

 

And instantly

 

8:31 PM Olivia nothing.

 

Just when he thinks that’s the end of it, just when he’s given up on staring at his phone, it sounds again. 

 

8:35 PM Olivia I think you should grow up.

 

Is she fucking serious? He’s furiously typing back a response before he can stop himself.

 

8:35 PM Elliot I’ll be sure to do that.

 

8:36 PM Olivia Lol

 

8:36 PM Elliot You can’t even apologize like an adult.

 

8:37 PM Olivia  ME?

 

Tired of texting, Elliot calls, and Olivia is quick to answer. Forgoing a greeting, she just starts speaking. “Oh, a phone call? I thought you were so, so busy this weekend. I wasn’t really expecting to hear from you…” she trails off 

 

“Just tell me what this is, Liv.”

 

“Wow,” she whispers. “We’re doing this now? Over the phone?”

 

“Yes,” Elliot insists.

 

“I care about you,” Olivia croaks. “But—“

 

“But what?” he asks. “But what? Please tell me because we’re… stuck right now. My life is on pause for you—“

 

“What does that even mean?”

 

Elliot sighs. He didn’t want it to go like this. Rubbing the back of his neck, attempting to ward off anxiety, he says, “Look, I’m not seeing anyone because I’m supposed to be seeing you, and that’s okay... But we’re not even talking anymore—“

 

“You told me you weren’t ready to date,” Olivia interjects, voice breathless.

 

“I said I wasn’t ready to date someone new . You decided what that meant for yourself,” Elliot revises.

 

“So, now you’re a liar…” 

 

Elliot laughs bitterly into her ear.

 

“Goodbye, Elliot. I’m done with this.”

 

“Of course, you are.”

 

On the other side of New York City, Olivia is fuming.  She knew this day was coming. 

 

Whether it was him walking away from her or him leaving again to live in another country, or an undercover assignment stealing him away for months— she’d always imagined it’d come to this. 

 

“You know what Elliot? Screw you,” she spits into the phone. “And fuck this . I just needed one thing from you—”

 

“Olivia, it’s always about you!”

 

“In twenty-three years, it’s never been about me. How could you even say that?” Olivia demands. “I’ve always danced around you and your feelings. I’ve never —“ she stops abruptly to sit up in bed. In bed by 8 on a Friday night, she’d been preparing to read and have a cozy (lonely) evening to herself.

 

Pre-Elliot, she’d have been elated to enjoy the absolute silence. But as she’d slid under the covers tonight and found the perfect position in bed with her readers dangling from her nose, she’d felt… shorted. She’d already been simmering with resentment when he texted her, so it’d been easy, quite frankly, to get her this riled up.

 

“You left, and when you were here, you had a wife and—“ she stops abruptly to throw the comforter off of her legs, to walk across the floor and get the sudden burst of energy out, but she can barely speak without her voice trembling now. “It’s always been about you and your family and your kids and your trauma. Everything is at your pace—“

 

“That’s a lie, and you know it, Liv.”

 

It’s too much. 

 

There’s so much to say, and it all begins bubbling to the surface. Her jaw is clenched together when she utters, “You left me. Did you forget that? And then you show up again after a decade, and now everything is supposed to change because that’s what you think should happen? If I’m reserved, I have every right to be!”

 

“Liv—“

 

“No. You know what? I’m done. We’re done. Goodbye.”

 

Olivia throws her phone onto the bed, and she turns her back to it. She hasn’t done this in years— raised her voice or cursed at a lover. Maybe since Brian, and even then, she hadn’t felt this invested.

 

She listens to the whir of her fan and ignores the burn in her nose as she attempts to stave off the pain in her chest and the tears behind her eyes. What was she to do? He wants to move on, either with her or without her, and the idea of him moving on without her even being an option makes her feel violently ill. It passes with a few gulps of water, and once she’s cooled herself down, once the tears have finally silently slipped down her cheeks, she breathes. 

 

 

Contemplating calling Lindstrom to fire him, she busies herself with cleaning her kitchen. She hadn't even eaten dinner and Noah isn't home and the counters are still clear from the last time she'd cleaned them, but still… 

 

She's scrubbing furiously and then cleaning out the refrigerator, chucking leftovers into the trashbin, and then running the garbage out to the trash room down the hall from her apartment. 

 

She has two missed calls and two text messages from Elliot by the time she climbs back into bed.

 

8:45 PM Elliot Answer the phone.

 

8:45 PM Elliot Olivia.

 

The phone vibrates in her hand.

 

10:13 PM Elliot Open the door.

 

He's not here, is he? There's a very toxic part of her that is elated that Elliot has shown up here in the middle of the night, but she pushes that down as she slides off the bed and walks quickly to the front of the apartment. Glancing through the peephole, she finds Elliot with both of his hands planted on the door frame, and all she can see is the top of his head and the rise and fall of his shoulders.

 

“What are you doing here?” she asks loud enough for him to hear on the other side.

 

“Open the door, Liv.” 

 

Her fingertips find the lock, but she asks, “Why?” But before he can speak, she holds her breath and flips it over, unlocking the door.

 

Olivia turns the knob slowly and pulls. Elliot’s head rises giving her a glimpse of his eyes, rimmed with red. 

 

He rolls his shoulders and inhales a deep breath as she wedges herself in the opening of the door. She has the option to back up and invite him inside or step into the hall with him, but she’s frozen in place. After a moment of stalling, after she’s licked her lips, after she’s taken in the top buttons of his shirt and the sight of his corded neck adorned with the chain he has dangling from it, she attempts to speak and fails. 

 

She tries not to continue looking, so she forces her eyes away and asks with a gentle voice, “What do you want, Elliot?”

 

He rolls his shoulders again and swallows audibly. “What I want,” he begins, his voice a deep rasp, “is for you to say it to my face.”

 

Olivia’s lips part, but nothing comes out.

 

“If you’re gonna lie,” Elliot continues, “and tell me you don’t want me and that this is over, then at least give me the courtesy of looking me in my fucking eyes when you do it.”

 

She attempts to answer but her mouth just stays gaped open and nothing at all comes out.

 

He gives her a moment, and then he’s moving forward, one of his large hands pushing the door open as his other finds the side of her neck.

 

With her eyebrows stitched together, she looks him directly in his eyes, and she takes a step back while he follows. He follows her until they’re safely behind her closed door, and then he spins her quickly, pressing her back against it.

 

She thinks he’s going for her lips, but his mouth scorches the side of her neck in an intimate kiss. Olivia moans at his lips’ touch, at the strong scent of his cologne, at the feel of his powerful hand sinking into her hair to hold her head to the side.

 

The drag of his teeth on her soft skin is enticing enough that she forgets she’s angry and she pushes up onto her toes, leaning into him, chasing his mouth with hers. She gets close, and Elliot pulls back just enough that they are no longer touching, and their gazes lock. Her eyes search his, and she has to bite her lip to keep from speaking. 

 

Kiss me , she wants to beg. 

 

For a moment, they breathe each other’s breath, and he moves so slowly that she doesn’t notice at first. He overtakes her easily in a dizzying kiss. One that makes her hold onto him, one that has her clutching his shirt in her fists. A kiss that immediately sweeps her off her feet and makes her stomach plummet and her thighs squeeze together. 

 

His lips, tongue, and teeth. I t’s only been a week, but she’s missed this. The scratch of his beard, the deep growl he gives her from the back of his throat, the hardness of his body against hers. She’s unprepared for this. 

 

Olivia’s hands ache to reach for his belt…

 

She aches to touch his skin, to drag him back to her bedroom, to take back every word she said on the phone. 

 

She’s so tired of the fighting. She wants to lay her sword down if it means more of this.

 

She’s willing— more than willing to do all of that, but Elliot snatches his lips away from hers. 

 

“Say it.”

 

Olivia’s eyes focus on his lips, and she watches them as they move.

 

“Tell me you don’t want me, Liv.”

 

Her mouth parts to speak, but he uses it to his advantage and sinks his teeth into her swollen lip, pulling gently before shoving his tongue along hers. His hands find her waist, his thumbs rubbing gently on the sides of her breasts. Olivia’s thighs open, and she hikes her left one up around his right hip. Her hands drop to the buckle of his pants, but before she can pull the leather and the metal apart, his hands cover hers. 

 

“Please,” she whispers into his mouth.

 

Elliot shakes his head, and his lips graze softly over hers. “Say it first,” he demands.

 

The very stubborn part of her brain wants to scream and kick him out and tell him she’s done, echoing her words from hours ago. If he wants another woman, he should go for it. Maybe there is someone better suited for him. Someone soft and willing to be everything he needs her to be. Someone who won’t push him away out of fear. He needs someone he doesn’t have an extensive and painful past with. He needs someone new and exciting and—

 

He’s so fucking infuriating. She wants to tell him she hates him, and that her life without him was so much better. What they’ve done up until now, it’s been a mistake… but it’d all be a lie, and they both know it. 

 

Her heart pounds in her chest, the sound so loud and dramatic she hears it in her ears. She finds his eyes, but looks away because he’s always made her a little nervous. Her full lips purse, and her nose scrunches in petulance. It’s killing her to say it, but she’s admitted it to her therapist. She can do it again. 

 

“You’re a pain in my ass. But I fucking love you, and you knew that already,” she rushes out.

 

He mulls it over for a moment before his face splits into a grin.

 

It’s not the love confession he’d dreamed of, but it feels like too good of a thing to be picky over. 

 

“Also, I’m sorry…” she trails, biting her lip. Elliot’s hand lifts to cradle her jaw, and his thumb gently frees her lip. “I don’t want you to go. I don’t want to end this. I’m just… afraid.”

 

“Of what?” He’s hoarse when he speaks, his voice laced with emotion. 

 

“Of being too invested.”

 

He chuckles, chucking her chin until she finally looks up. “Shit. Too invested?” His blue eyes roll playfully, and he rakes his hand down her arm until their fingers touch. “You’re not invested at all.” Slowly, he brings one of her delicate hands to his shoulder, and then the other.

 

“No, I am,” she mumbles. “Like you wouldn’t believe.”

 

Holding her arms where they are looped around his neck, he dips down to nuzzle her hairline, to gently nudge her head back so that he has access to her mouth again. 

 

“Stay,” she whispers against his lips. 

 

Elliot lifts her easily with one hand under her ass and the other fisting her hair, muffling her squeal as he presses their mouths together, easily walking them back toward her bedroom. He’s never had trouble multitasking before, even with Olivia moaning and grasping for him and licking her tongue along his, but this time he finds himself stopping more than once. First by the kitchen, and then right outside of her bedroom.

 

“We’re not having sex against the wall,” Olivia says, both hands on his cheeks, pulling back, smiling down at him.

 

“We could,” he poses, biting his lip. 

 

“No,” she whispers. She strokes his beard, the apple of his cheeks, over his bushy brows. “I fucking missed you."

 

“Insanely?”

 

She nods.

 

They’d been in a rush before, so she doesn’t expect it when he slows down. He finally lets her stand on her own feet once they’ve arrived at the foot of her bed. His hands hang at his sides as he looks at her, her lips full and moist, face bare. Her eyes are still slightly red, but are now softer than they’d been when she first opened the door.

 

He moves first, pulling his shirt off his back, letting it fall to their feet.

 

Instead of doing the same, Olivia sighs happily. 

 

She tugs her hair out of the sloppy ponytail, allowing the soft locks to trail down her back and frame her face.

 

“Come here,” she mutters, flipping her hair over. She extends her hands out, reaching for him, touching his warm chest, admiring the manly patch of hair and the healed scars.

 

She steps closer and places a searing kiss at the base of his throat below his Adam’s apple. Her straight teeth catch his skin, and the sensation makes him gasp. 

 

The stubble on his neck and jaw tickles, but she continues on, gliding her lips across his pulse point, up the side of his neck, to his ear. “I want you to make love to me, Elliot.”

 

They fall onto the mattress together with Olivia on top, her thighs sandwiching one of his. His hands slide into her pajamas, fitting over the roundness of her ass. He draws her groin close against his before grinding up and rocking her hips salaciously against his for a bit until the impatience becomes too much. He rolls them over and easily lifts onto his knees, tugging the pants over the curve of her hips, down the length of her legs, and chucking them off of the bed.

 

He’s next. He gets his pants off in record time, kicking them so that he can position himself at her entrance, rubbing the head of his penis  against her clit firmly . Her hips lift upward, seeking the feeling of him, but he retreats just slightly. “Please,” she pleads softly. “In me.”

 

“That’s what you want?” he baits.

 

“Yes.”

 

He slides into her slowly, and once there’s nowhere else to go, he gets his lips so close to her ear that when he whispers, her entire body shudders. “I missed you so much, baby.”

 

Her eyes flutter open, and she shifts to meet his gaze. “Kid,” she corrects playfully with a small smile. “Still can’t call me baby. Don’t go crazy.”

 

He’s laughing when he kisses her again, this time on her clavicle. She’s somehow still wearing her shirt, but he lifts it so that it’s caught under her arms, bunching over her breasts so he can cup and squeeze them. His head drops down to suck a nipple into his mouth, tugging gently, all while groping and fondling her other soft breast.

 

Olivia mewls and writhes underneath him. Encouraging him until he speeds up, lifting her leg and holding it in the cuff of his arm.

 

“Don’t stop,” she breathes. “Deeper… Harder!”

 

His beard scratches the smooth skin of her shoulder as he licks the shell of her ear. “Manners,” he teases.

 

“Please,” she begs. Her eyes roll to the back of her head so he thrusts harder, deeper.

 

He flips her over to her belly, and Olivia yelps at the suddenness of it. If he didn’t know before, surely he’s figured out that she loves this— the manhandling while he gazes at her like she’s the most precious thing on Earth. He grabs her ass, her hips; his big rough hands reaching for as much of her freckled and supple skin as he can get to.

 

“I wanna see you,” he tells her, turning her head by her chin until he has a full view of her face. 

 

Her dainty hand covers his, threading her fingers through his so she can position it around her throat. “Softly,” she instructs.

 

Elliot shakes his head. ”I don’t wanna hurt you, bab—”

 

“Trust me. You won’t,” she assures, covering his hand and squeezing gently on both sides. “Yes.” She nods, large eyes meeting his, encouraging him. 

 

He tries on more time, just a little tighter, and Olivia moans out loud.” It’s not about pain,” she tells him softly, panting. “It’s about trust.”

 

Elliot squeezes a little tighter after that, holding for a few seconds before releasing her. “Liv?”

 

“Don’t stop fucking me like that!” Her demand is breathless and weak, her whimper soft. 

 

Elliot is throbbing inside of her, and the feeling of her own sex doing the same. He’s stretching her, filling her, and with his hand around her neck… The consistency, all of it. It’s perfect.

 

Olivia gasps, “I’m going to—”

 

She cries out, whining breathlessly as her body constricts and adrenaline courses through her, pinpricks stinging her scalp and the palms of her hands.“You feel so good,” she murmurs, so out of her mind in pleasure that the words all mesh together. “Don’t ever stop.” She isn’t even thinking about her sheets this time, in fact, even with that familiar pressure she feels in her bladder, even with all the telltale signs, she reaches back and grabs a handful of his ass, pulling him down harder and harder. “Yes!”

 

“Fuck, Liv.”

 

He continues until there’s a soft splash with every thrust of their hips, every time their bodies meet.

 

A moment so perfect, she couldn’t describe it even if she wanted. The second their eyes meet, she pleads, “Don’t leave me.”

 

Elliot nods, but he’s gasping for air and it’s the best he has left in him. A silent nod.

 

“Stay right here,” she instructs softly.

 

“You’re so tight. Can’t take it,” Elliot finally bites, sliding in and out of her, holding onto her and breathing her in. “Fuck."

 

Her hand flies to the back of his head, holding his mouth to her shoulder, allowing him to growl against her skin as his thrusts slow up. 

 

His gut tightens and behind her, he shakes as he finally releases into her.



 

Olivia’s head is at the foot of the bed with her toes pointed toward the headboard. Elliot is in the opposite direction, his large frame resting against her headboard with one of her long legs settled on his left shoulder, his arm wedged between her thighs, and his big hand resting over her bare belly.

 

Since she’d come back from the bathroom, they’d been lying in complete blissful silence until Olivia clears her throat. “What happens now?” 

 

“We go on a date. We talk about how to make this real for the both of us.”

 

“What’s that look like for you, El?”

 

“I’d like to be able to see you during the day,” he chuckles. “Call you before ten. Touch you in public. Tell people.”

 

“So you wanna break all of our rules?“

 

“Exactly,” he agrees, grinning at her. “Which will mean meeting Noah formally. I can be whoever you want me to be—“

 

“Mom’s old partner,” she supplies, smirking. “To be safe.”

 

“To be safe?”

 

Olivia pulls a face, being a little silly. “What if he doesn’t like you?”

 

“What’s not to like?”

 

“A lot,” she deadpans. 

 

He laughs. “ Please ! With the sweet talk.”

 

“Come here.”

 

Olivia crawls toward him, still wearing nothing but her shirt. She folds herself into him so that her entire body is aligned with his.

 

“Tell me about Noah...

 

Olivia chuckles before she responds, “Stop worrying. He’s going to like you because I like you.”

 

“Oh, we're back to that? I have feelings for you?” he mocks, his voice going up an octave, pretending to be her. “I care for you.”

 

“Don’t make fun. It’s a true statement. I do like you.”

 

Elliot sits up to lovingly kiss her shoulder. “I like you, too.” He’s repeating her, but there’s so much more emphasis when he says it.

 

“El.”

 

“It’s true,” he mimics. His hands have somehow wandered underneath her shirt, his fingertips ghosting the center of her back. Olivia hums and gets a little closer, resting her head on his chest, her long hair flowing down her back... and then he's kissing her again. Her shoulder first, then her neck.  Elliot tugs at the sheet, ducking underneath it and just as Olivia hums, she hears the vibration of a phone. 

 

“Fuck. Is that my phone?” Elliot’s muffled voice asks.

 

“No,” she lies.

 

Laughing, Elliot leans over the side of the bed grabbing his jeans and his vibrating phone. 

 

“Unknown number,” he tells her. “Stabler… Hello to you, too… Uh-huh. Yep. But I— alright. Okay. I’ll… mmhmm. Yes, sir. I understand.” Elliot hangs up the phone, cursing.

 

“What?” Olivia asks, sitting up.

 

“Fucking Bell.”

 

Olivia swings her feet over to sit on the side of the bed, reaching for him. “What happened? Who was that?”

 

“That was McGrath.”

 

“Calling you? What did you do?” she whispers.

 

“Liv— I’ve gotta tell you something. Don’t get mad—“

 

Olivia’s phone rings before he can fully answer. “One second,” she says. “Fuck. It’s McGrath. Did we both do something?” She rolls her eyes, but her voice is light when she speaks into the phone. “Benson.”

 

“Captain Benson. There’s a missing child— a teenager. I need all hands on deck. Detective Khaldun still at SVU?”

 

Olivia turns to find Elliot picking up his shirt from the floor. “Where are you going?” she asks him, holding the phone away from her mouth.

 

“What was that?” McGrath asks in her ear.

 

“Nothing. Sorry, Chief. Yes we still have Khaldun but he’s supposed to be going back to Hate Crimes—“

 

“It’s fine," McGrath barks. "We got a volunteer. Someone you know.”

 

“A volunteer? That’s good news, I suppose!” She’d have really liked to have a say in this. 

 

“It’s Detective Elliot Stabler. He’s going to be working with you at SVU for the foreseeable future.”

 

Olivia gasps but recovers quickly. “I—okay...“

 

“You needed someone, and now you have him. I called him, he knows about it… How soon can you get to the precinct?”

 

“Chief, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

 

Olivia hangs the phone up, and she turns slowly to find Elliot already dressed and red in the face. “What the fuck did you do?”