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10:47 PM Olivia  Sex?

 

It’s probably overstepping.

Not probably. It is. It is overstepping. She’s had a glass or two, and the idea had popped in her head and never left. Not that it just popped! That's not true. There'd of course been the twenty-three years of secret longing. It was mutual, she always reminds herself. It's not like she and Elliot have never had moments where things could've changed between them more than once. Several times she can pinpoint during their partnership where she would've been delighted to —

She shakes her head. That's inappropriate no matter how long it's been since Kathy's been gone.

It isn't just her though. There are multiple people in her life championing for this thing to happen between them. Fin has stopped forcing it at this point and now he's trying to set them both up with different people. She suspects he is trying to get them both jealous enough to say something to each other and so far it's worked once.

Fin isn't alone in this. Her ex-best friend Rafa swears she loves Elliot unconditionally and he's not wrong. In her last therapy session, Dr. Lindstrom had instructed her to explore what she and Elliot may have between them and again, that isn't bad advice. And Amanda? Amanda told her plainly to fuck Elliot.

Knowing herself and knowing that sex would probably be the easiest thing to initiate between them, but also knowing it had the potential to destroy them, she'd gone with Dr. Lindstrom's advice originally. A week prior, they’d been in a bar having drinks and as it usually does when they’re alone, the conversation turned personal. Olivia flipped her loose, dark hair to the side and rested her chin in her hand and after taking a sip of wine, she peered over getting closer to him. “So how is it being home? How are you... adjusting?” Olivia had asked feigning innocence, but he saw right through it when she batted her lashes and smirked.

Even though she’d asked about adjustment, the undertone was clear. 

He watched as she messed with her hair again, something she only does when she’s flirting or nervous, and she waited patiently for an answer to her question with her glossy lips pursed and her cheekbones high as she held back a smile.

Never the guy to indulge in games, Elliot huffed, “What are you asking me, Liv?”

And to her, it'd been sexy. Elliot, her friend, outright asking her what her intentions were without even flinching. Although attractive, it simmered her down just a little and without looking at him, while looking at everything but him, she began speaking. “Just asking about how things are... with you. Now that you’re home... and you've been home for a while... how’s your mom? Is Eli okay? Are you... seeing anybody?

She’d asked three questions but he chose to answer only one. “No.”

“Not Fins sister-in-law? Ever get a chance to meet her?”

Elliot laughed dismissively. “No. No... I was invited to dinner a couple of times but... no.”

Oh.”

“Can I be honest?” he asks.

Her hand had waved in front of them in true Olivia fashion as she fought to keep her face straight. “Please.”

“I’m not ready for all that.”

“Not ready?” she repeated, eyes widening.

“No. I can’t see myself dating a woman, getting to know her, and even attempting to trust her. I’d rather not... I’m not in the place for anything new.”

It'd been embarrassing how relieved she'd been to hear that he wasn't looking for anything new but it'd also been an answer for her. Elliot was not ready to pursue a relationship.

A relationship? No. But maybe something else?

“So what?” she'd started, fighting the blush in her cheeks. She'd lifted her wine glass up to take a sip but kept her glass shielding her face.

“What?” he asked.

“You need something like a...” Her back straightened when she said, “A fuck buddy?” Olivia lifted an eyebrow before continuing. “Ya know... Trust, but no strings?”

“Uh, yeah. I suppose.”

“I’d offer but there are so many strings already,” Olivia had joked. She had grinned but kept her eyes on the table in front of her for as long as she could before finally looking up at him. He only smiled back and made butterflies hatch in her belly and it’d been too intense so she switched the subject. “So... how is Bernie?”

The topic of Bernie had been safe. Safe enough that they steered easily into catching up about their kids. Soon after, he dropped her off at home and she practically ran into her building, trying to get far, far away before she said anything else too suggestive. 

And now it’s a week later and slightly tipsy Olivia is home alone and maybe she and Elliot had been onto something? Sex with someone she trusts? No strings? As she’d said then, there are strings of some sort but what if he... what if they agreed to keep it strictly sex? If he could do that, he’d be the perfect candidate for her new fuck buddy. There’s no one else she trusts like she trusts Elliot. No one at all.

He’d lost his wife a year ago and he’s still recovering, still grieving. She has also been grappling with a lot of intimate issues that predated even their partnership. That meant that neither of them are ready for anything resembling a relationship and they were on an even playing field. The 'no relationship' part is actually perfect for her. Because sex? That’s different.  

“It’s different,” she assures herself, but even saying it aloud she doesn’t believe it. 

She'd had just sex with Edgar Goodwin and they're still friends. It's been a while, over a year actually since she'd last spoken to him, but she's sure they'd be able to function as if nothing ever happened. She'd also had just sex with Trevor Langan for years and they're still friends... though she's no longer seeing him again. They'd gone on one too many dates and he was starting to cling again so she was slowly easing away from him. Again. It was just a thing they did. Have a really great time together and when he was getting too close, she'd just... find something else to focus on.

So maybe she wasn't good at it?

"I mean it worked for Rollins and Carisi..." she mumbles.

Why don't you two just go get a hotel room and get it out of your system?  While that is just awesome advice, she can't imagine why she would metaphorically jump out of the window without any real thought behind it? Glancing down at her phone she sees that it's been a full ten minutes since she'd sent the text and still there's no response.

Fuck. What had she been thinking? Oh, that's right. She'd been thinking that the night alone wouldn’t be such a waste if she had someone to share it with. She wanted to call over a nice man for mindless, exhilarating sex and rid her body of all this stress-induced tension that has been building up for months. She wanted someone who was attractive enough, someone she trusted enough... someone who would be open to this? 

If she just had someone who was single— just like she is single, who isn’t having sex— just like she isn’t, then maybe she could give them a call? 

Or send a one-word proposition over text and sit back and stare at her phone fearfully as she waits for him to text back.

Fuck. Is she out of line? She is out of line. She is... oh God no. On paper, she’s his superior. This is wildly inappropriate. This is wrong. 

She finally grabs her phone to fix it, to apologize, to lie and say she’d been kidding but he’s already typing back. The text bubble appears, then disappears, and then the phone rings in her hand making her gasp. Fuck. 

She answers the call, presses the phone to her ear and she listens to the sound of his breathing. Her eyes are squeezed tight as she waits for him to speak. Fuck. “Say something,” she mumbles finally. Her face is hot, her chest is hot. She feels the embarrassment burning its way through her body. What is wrong with her?

What the fuck is wrong with you, Benson? 

And then Elliot chuckles deeply into her ear before asking, “You offering?”

“God,” she sighs, relieved. “I know that I outrank you so please, please don’t feel pressured—“

“I don’t.”

“I don’t know why I texted you that,” she rushes out, biting her lower lip.

“Because you want to have sex,” he drawls deeply in her ear, laughing softly. “With me,” he adds.

“It’s because of your speech last week," Olivia clarifies. "I don’t want to see anyone new either. I don’t want to even see anyone old,” she babbles, but she leaves it there because Elliot doesn’t know a thing about Burton and she’d like to keep it that way. In reality, maybe it’s Burton that has her wanting to do this with Elliot. Needing some semblance of control, someone to explore with who she knows wouldn’t hurt her. 

Also, to add to that, she's really wanted to have sex with this man for over two decades.

“Liv?”

She realizes then that she has gone silent and she clears her throat. “I just feel like it would be safe between us,” Olivia confesses.

“It would be,” Elliot agrees, his voice a little rougher than before. “I’m, uh... I’m free. I could be there in twenty minutes.”

“Yeah?” She doesn’t mean to sound so excited.

Elliot laughs. “Yeah.”

 

-

 

The anticipation after the text she thought was crippling— this? This is sending her to new heights of anxiety. Elliot Stabler is on his way to her home for casual sex. Sex between two old friends... sex and no relationship or anything after. Sex— and no expectations. 

What do you wear for sex with a friend? She only has twenty minutes to prepare and... fuck.

She’d changed into pajamas when she got home. A cotton shirt and pants to match and though this was between friends she wants him to want her. To look at her and think she’s attractive and she’s hardly dropping any jaws in her plain everyday nightwear.

Twenty minutes. 

She uses every single minute. Her hair is clipped on top of her head as she strips down to nothing and showers quickly but thoroughly, lifting her leg high on the bath tub to reach every crevice. She shaves and exfoliates and by the time she finishes all that, she barely has time to reapply her makeup. She settles on mascara and chapstick, then douses her skin in a lotion that leaves her skin fragrant, shiny, and soft. 

Her phone buzzes and it’s a text telling her that he’s stepping onto the elevator and it leaves her slipping into a robe and shaking her hair out just in time to answer the door on his second knock. He’s in sweat pants and wearing a smirk and he doesn’t even say anything as he walks into her home. There are two lamps lighting the entire space, so the lighting is soft and forgiving she hopes, considering she’s standing there practically naked. He has a six-pack of beer in his hand that he places on the counter. He plucks two beers out and opens them with his keys before he’s handing her one. 

“Thanks.” It comes out breathy and it broadens his smile. Maybe he likes seeing her like this. Shy. Slightly embarrassed. And completely nude under her robe. 

He takes a sip, eyeing her from her red toenails, up her freckled legs to her thighs where the robe ends. Where the robe ties under her tits, her tits.

“So how do we do this?" Elliot blurts, crossing his arms over his chest. "Just jump right in?”

“No,” she laughs. “This is awkward enough. I need you to tell me you’re... cool with this. You don’t feel propositioned or coerced or—“

“Olivia,” he blurts. “Believe me… that speech is unnecessary.”

She nods and takes another sip. Her eyes drop down to his sweats again and then lift back up to his eyes. “You’re not wearing any underwear are you?”

He looks down at his crotch and the bulge between his legs is very noticeable. And no— he isn’t wearing underwear.

“What you got on under that?” He points at her with the stem of his beer before he sits down on a stool. 

She idles by the couch, touching the throw, then the pillow next to it before she lifts her chin to answer him. “I asked you first.”

“I don’t like underwear.”

She laughs. 

“Come here.” He holds his hand out to her and she comes without question, slipping her hand in his. She still has her beer curled into her chest as she steps in between the gap of his thighs. “Let’s get on the same page.”

“I care about you but this is separate from that. Can we agree to that?” she asks.

He stares at her for a moment, like he’s thinking about it before a smile curves his lips upward. “Yeah.”

“Alright,” Olivia pulls away, but keeps her hand in his, tugging him out of the chair and pulling him to his feet. Standing, he feels like a giant to her with how broad he is, how if he got any closer she’d have to lean her head all the way back just to keep eye contact. It’s intimidating and sexy how rough he looks now. He's grown back some of the black and white scruff on his chin like he had while under a year ago and his head is baldish, with a shadow of hair slowly creeping in.  

As domineering as he appears, the smile on his lips is soft and inviting and he follows her quietly to her bedroom.

 

 

 

Elliot follows her down the hall and to the left, stepping into her bedroom and the second the door is closed, his hand grabs low on her hip and turns her into him easily. Both of her hands land on his shoulders as they find their footing, their legs intertwining, their bodies slapping together. She moans before their mouths touch and as his tongue slithers against hers, she feels her vagina clench from deep inside. Actually clench, from just seconds of his lips kissing softly at hers. His hands leave her hips and one goes for her hair and the other for her ass and wow, they're getting right to it. 

Olivia tries to keep up but he grabs as much ass as his hand can fit, over warm soft fabric, squeezing, jiggling slightly. She likes it — loves it actually. She wonders how long it's been since a man has fondled her this way. She’d love to explore his body, too, but it’s too much. His mouth on hers, his beard, his fingers in her hair, and the way his hand keeps bunching fabric bit by bit, higher until he’s got a hand full of naked, supple flesh. And he’s so hard, she keeps pressing her hips into him so she can feel him on her belly. So hard, she thinks, and then she says it against his lips. “You’re so hard,” she whispers, a blush blooming in her cheeks, down her neck. 

It’s the most conflicted she’s felt in a while. He feels good, intoxicating even, but he’s still Elliot. The man who was off-limits, who’d been married from the moment they met, a man who’d never ever been an option. Now he has the tips of his fingers getting closer and closer to the center of her. It’s a little embarrassing how ready she is and knowing that he’ll know ignites a rumble of laughter in her belly. She laughs around his tongue until he pulls back, eyebrows furrowed, but smiling still. He squeezes her ass, pulling her even closer to his body, and this time her head is thrown back and actual tears form in her eyes. 

His hand shifts to her jaw and he stares down at her face, smirking. “Liv, you’re not supposed to be laughing.”

“I can’t help it.”

“You can’t?” His lips slide against her throat again, his beard tickling her skin as he nuzzles her softly. She shudders under his touch but her laugh gets stuck when his fingers dip low enough to slide between her folds. She moans and her head falls back again, Elliot’s breath hot on her skin as he chuckles and snorts to himself.  “So wet,” he whispers before he brings her mouth back to his. 

Okay, we are doing this, she thinks as she kisses him back and his middle finger slips inside of her only for a second. There’s no more laughing, just trying to remain in the moment as Elliot walks her back to her bed. She falls into a sitting position, her hands resting behind her, her hair falling behind her shoulders. Her jaw drops as Elliot splits her legs open, shifting the black robe, splitting it apart too. For the first time, he sees the meat of her inner thighs, and the more she spreads them, the more of her he sees. 

He lifts his shirt off of his body and drops it to the floor and her voice betrays her again. This time with a big intake of air she whimpers lightly. He’s sculpted so beautifully and even with the scars, he’s perfect. The tattoos and dark ink etched into red, freckled skin and bulky muscles on his arms, his abs. There’s dark hair that's dusted on his forearms, down his chest, and trails down past his belly button and his pants drop even before she’s able to digest the new skin she’s seeing for the first time in a decade. And while she’s seen his chest, she’s never seen anything below the belt. She’s never ever, ever— she can’t even look. Won’t let her eyes drift down beyond the defined lines on his groin because the shock just might choke her.

Instead of looking, Olivia shifts her eyes, down to her own body and she tugs on the satin belt, opening the robe before falling back, this time on her elbows. There’s no reason to be shy, she supposes. It’s Elliot. 

The robe slips open fully and under her own gaze, her nipples harden even more, goosebumps spring visible on her skin, her small belly pouch bunches over the bare, smooth skin of her groin, and right there, wagging over her is Elliot. The prominent bulge in his grey sweatpants doesn’t disappoint and he is hard and so stiff already that she knows that at minimum she’ll be able to get herself there. Even if he’s bad at this— which she doubts— she has a hunch she will not regret this.

He’s long and thick and she resists the urge to grab him immediately and put him in her mouth because it’s too much right now to concentrate on. He leans forward and his mouth touches the top of her right thigh and then her right hip, then he has one knee on the bed as he drifts higher. Tasting her belly button and then her left nipple, licking it erotically before pulling it into his mouth, sucking it. It probably isn’t ladylike but it makes her groan, makes her hips buck up as she seeks more of him. He grabs two hands full of her tits, going from one to the other, moaning at the sweet taste of her skin, like this alone could probably get him off. Just her heavy breasts and hard nipples and the sounds she’s making as he slurps and laps at them.

She lets him spend as much time there as he needs and she enjoys watching him. The way he glances up at her and the tip of his tongue swirls until he’s dragging it upward from her chest to her throat. Is it his beard that keeps sending chills straight to her vagina or is it his tongue? His soft lips? 

He makes it to her ear lobe, pulling it into his mouth and this is actually something she’s never liked. Hearing a tongue move so close, feeling the wetness and it snaps her right out of it. Should she tell him? Would he be offended? 

“El,” she mutters, shifting and turning her face to capture his lips while pulling him down on her but he falls awkwardly and traps her hair under his forearm. 

She’ll suffer the tug on her hair if she can at least get him inside of her. He grinds forward once and then twice, slipping his hardened erection against her but not entering. What she will not suffer for is teasing. “Sorry you’re on my hair,” she mumbles, tapping his arm. 

“Fuck. Sorry.”

Elliot does a full push-up off of her, making sure he isn’t on any of her long hair, allowing her to gather it all above her head. He smiles sheepishly down at her because he knows he’s fucking this up and any other woman would probably kick him out of her apartment but she just grins up at him. 

As much as they agreed to keep the feelings out of it, there is so much history between them. They know each other, they’re friends and they’re sober. There really is no lying or masking feelings. They both want this, no matter how many times they fumble. Olivia grabs him in both of her hands, spreading her legs wider as she guides him against her this time, using the tip of him, rubbing it against her clit before bracing him at her core. Their mouths gape at the same time, both gasping but not making any other sound beyond that, locking eyes as he finally sinks, slowly pushing until he’s deep inside of her.

Her body expands enough for him to be inside of her but grips so tight he has to halt all movement and focus on not coming. A moment passes and her shoulders relax and the sweet sting of his invasion simmers and... they laugh.

It starts out as two slow smiles and then he chuckles and she laughs too until he’s groaning from the way that her laugh makes her clench tighter. “Stop,” he begs, covering her lips with his hand. “Stop.” 

“You laughed first.”

He looks down at their bodies, at how she’s spread around his length. “Cause this is—“

“Sick,” she mutters against his hand. It is sick. This is her best friend from a million years ago and now they’re doing this thing together and it’s… it’s insane and incredible and laughable how good it feels. She just can’t stop thinking, keeps thinking about the fact that it’s him and another round of laughter bubbles up.

“Liv,” he growls. He pulls halfway out of her for the fear that she’ll laugh too hard, squeeze too narrow and he’ll come. Mid cackle, he thrusts forward, and finally, it silences her. Mouth still open, eyes wide, she nods her head in approval and he does it again and again until she feels all the tension in her body slipping... and this is exactly what she wanted.

She lifts her head to kiss him again, but it takes too much coordination and she can barely think, let alone get her mouth to move in sync with his.

He doesn’t want to hurt her and she’s already so reactive he’s afraid to thrust any harder until she’s begging him. “Harder,” she whispers. Both of his hands hook under her knees and he pushes them back as he lifts up off of her body. From this angle, he can see everything. See how wet she is every time he pulls out, how she makes him glisten. He can’t look away from the jiggle of her heavy breasts and her curvy hips and small belly and her face stretched out in ecstasy. Both her eyebrows are hitched and her eyes roll when he changes the angle, hitting a spot deep, deep inside of her. 

“Harder,” she begs, but he can’t— or won’t. He keeps his pace, slowly drawing her under a wave of pleasure until she reaches for him. Her nails dig and scratch, pulling him in closer, burying her face in his neck. “Harder, Elliot,” she whispers against his face.

“Don’t wanna hurt you.”

“If you want me to come, you’re gonna have to,” she chuckles and he laughs again. “Harder. I like it when I can’t even fucking think. I shouldn’t be able to even talk—“

“You sure?”

She realizes then that he’s only done this one way and that he’s never been free to let go. She’s surprised actually that the vein in his forehead hasn’t exploded from sheer, unreleased tension. “You’re not going to hurt me. I want you to fuck me.” 

This time he thrusts and it’s with more force, more power. She yelps and her hands fly to his impressive back and when they finally find a groove, sparks fly. Actual sparks that she sees in her field of vision as they find a new, desperate rhythm. Elliot gets his hands underneath her ass and he tips her hips upward to meet his big body as he crashes down, fucking her until the top of her head touches the headboard. Her hand flies up to prevent her head from hitting the wood, raising her breasts higher so that he can suck her nipple into his mouth. He can't stop feeling and tasting, licking between her breasts before he gets up on his knees again to drag her body down the bed again.

When she’s close, he loops his arms under her shoulders, threads both of his hands in her hair, holding her head in his hands as he kisses her. Her hands are grabbing at the pillows above her head, squeezing them as he switches to making gentle love. Moaning, she looks up at him through her lashes, sensitive and aroused and ready for this pace now. “Yes!”

Their fingers thread and he keeps going, keeps fucking her slowly until it's messy and the sounds they make together are squishy and wet. He pulls back again to look at her just in time. Just in time to see the amazement on her face as her body throbs and tightens around his. It’s dramatic and full of heavy panting and gasping and blunt nails ripping across the back of his hands when he finally combusts, filling her.

It takes a minute to gather themselves and when they finally do, he rolls off of her and they both just lay there. Nude and spent and sweaty.

“Are you ok? Did you….you know…? Cause I—” he shakes his head. 

Olivia chuckles. “Yeah, El. I’m good.”

“So,” he draws out and when she opens her eyes, she finds his hand dangling, offering her a handshake. It takes all the coordination she can muster, but she fits her hand in his. “Fuck buddies?” he asks.

Olivia giggles and she shakes his hand firmly. Partners, friends, and now, “Fuck buddies,” she agrees.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

 

12:11 AM Olivia

  • discretion 
  • honesty 
  • no pda
  • nothing before 10
  • just us

 

6:28 AM Elliot  Morning Benson — had to leave, but there’s iced coffee in the fridge. Still a very cute sleeper, but you snore now.

 

7:15 AM Olivia get called in?

 

7:16 AM Elliot Always at the worst moments.

 

7:20 AM Olivia be safe.

 

7:21 AM Elliot Will do. You, too.

 

This isn't going to work.

 

Elliot rereads their text messages once more. Where had he gone wrong? They’d had what he thought was amazing sex and talked for a bit to establish those rules before they slept... and he thought they were on the same page. Thought that they had shaken hands on an agreement of friends with benefits and how they would 'be cool' moving forward.

 

Does she always take this long to respond to texts? 

 

And what the hell does ‘be safe’ mean? That’s it? That's all he gets? And does ‘will do, you too’ even warrant a response? He’s definitely overthinking this. 

 

“Stabler, I’m gonna roll back out. Can you sit with Jet?”

 

Huh? Oh. Bell stands there and he can see by the look on her face that she is absolutely uninterested in what is going on on his phone right now. 

 

His phone sounds off finally and his eyes dart down to read the new text that’s almost four hours late.

 

10:46 AM Olivia K

 

“Did you hear me?" Ayanna asks, her dark eyes widening at him. He focuses back on Bell as she continues, "I have a meeting with Brewster, and I already have a headache.”

 

“Sit with Jet. Yeah, I heard you,” Elliot answers, nodding his head.

 

“I know that things have been slow since Donnelly and the Brotherhood, but I'd like you to sit with Jet. She’s going through financials—“

 

“Ayanna, I got it. Go! Have fun.” He nods until she nods along with him. She's been worrying about him but he's fine. The last thing he wants to do is rehash the undercover gig, or being shot, or the combat award, so he broadens his smile. "I'm fine," he assures her. It's been a couple of weeks and they're in the very beginnings of their new investigation. Not much is required of him lately. He's been sitting over Jet's shoulder anyway, going wherever the young detective tells him to go anyway. 

 

Ayanna gives him one last look before she turns on her heel to leave. Elliot tucks his phone into his breast pocket, snags a chair, and pulls up next to Jet's desk. She has earbuds in and hands him a file without looking and they work quietly side by side looking for inconsistencies until the errant thought pops in his head that maybe... Olivia is upset because he left without waking her?

 

Would something like that piss her off? 

 

He knows almost everything about Olivia but this side of her? He doesn't know this side of her. He's always watched her short-lived relationships from the outside looking in and she never seemed overly sensitive, but how could he know?

 

It is very possible that she is upset with him. She is a woman, he thinks. What woman sends a one-letter text response? 

 

An angry one, his mind answers. He wants to call her, but it’s a rule— no personal calls before ten in the evening. 

 

Last night, 10 PM sounded like a reasonable time and now as the clock flashes only 10:45 in the morning, he knows there's no fucking way he's going to last all day without actually talking to her.

 

What if she's pissed at him? What if the sex wasn’t as good for her as it was for him? He did have to ask her if she had an orgasm, and then they made that stupid list of rules at his insistence. Did she even want that? Had he pressured her? 

 

That’s just great, he thinks. He had put her on the spot, asked her right after sex and maybe she was too polite to say no? She wouldn’t lie… would she?

 

"You okay over there, Stabler?" He blinks and he's brought back to the squad room, back to Jet's station. He notices she's frowning but she doesn't look away from the computer. "Let me know if I need to call someone."

 

"Huh?" Elliot asks dumbly.

 

"I can hear you breathing? You okay?"

 

He considers for a moment asking Jet her opinion, but that's embarrassing. He's not asking this kid if she thinks his friend is upset with him because he left early without waking her. "Oh, sorry about that."

 

"Got a lot going on?" Jet prods.

 

"If you're texting..."

 

Jet looks up at him, now amused. She takes one of her air pods out and she uses her hand to motion forward.

 

"Does 'K' mean anger? Like I say 'be safe' and someone says 'K'..."

 

Jet just stares back at him, eyes wide for a moment, before reaching again for her headphone. "She's probably busy," is her curt answer.

 

Elliot nods and refocuses on the papers in his hands as Jet pushes closer to her computer monitors and they fall back into silent working. Except he's not working at all. It could be that she's busy... Or... maybe he wasn’t big enough for her? Had her feelings for him changed? Was she not into it? Had he wasted too much time?

 

10:57 AM Elliot  We good?

 

He presses send and then reluctantly turns his attention back to the task at hand. The day crawls by and the only people in his inbox are his children and his mother. Cho joins him and Jet, followed eventually by Maldonado, too. They eat lunch, meet with Bell one last time for the day, and he has already said goodnight to the entire team before his phone notifies him that he has a new message. From her. Finally.

 

He's alone and still, somehow, he feels exposed. Like someone is watching over his shoulder as he reads her message.

 

6:37 PM Olivia just busy. you need a post sex chat?

 

A post sex chat? He knows he said as friends, but shit.

 

6:37 PM Elliot Just wanted to call & check in.. can you take a call?

 

His phone begins ringing and he answers quickly. “Hey,” he mutters into the phone, his voice deep and quieted though there’s no one else to hear.

 

“Hey, do you think I can send Noah back over to his friend’s for a second night in a row?”

 

What?

 

“Ya know… so we can do that again?” Olivia jokes, and Elliot can hear the lightness in her voice, the grin she's definitely wearing.

 

Elliot relaxes into his desk chair. “So last night was fine then?” 

 

“What?”

 

“What we did. Was it… good?”

 

Olivia chuckles deeply. “Uh, yes,” she sings.

 

Oh. Oh. He’d made this whole scenario up in his head and thought he maybe did something wrong. She sounds fine, but he has to know. “Any complaints?”

 

“No,” Olivia answers quickly. He can hear her fingertip tapping down on her keyboard in the background. “Wait, sorry. That’s a lie. I have one,” she says before chuckling again. 

 

He holds his breath, waiting for her to send the whole precarious house of cards they’re building tumbling down. 

 

“I hate saliva in my ears. Drives me insane,” she blurts out quickly.

 

Elliot laughs finally, sighing a breath of relief. “That’s it?”

 

“Yeah, El," she says like it's the most obvious thing in the world. "Last night was great, wasn’t it? It was fun. I had a good time with you.”

 

“You don't know how badly I needed to hear that,” he admits. “I thought you were angry.”

 

“Why would I be?”

 

The last thing he’s going to do is sit on the phone and explain in great detail how anxious all this actually makes him. They’d agreed that there were feelings between them but had left them undefined. The last thing he’s going to do is tell her that her one letter text response and general lack of interest in their conversation had ignited this all. “Just want to make sure we’re good, Liv. That’s my main priority.”

 

“No, we are,” she insists and the background goes silent like she’d stopped working for this. “I don’t hate the idea of doing this with you. I’ve always wanted… to. Do… that,” she stutters and then laughs, but he can tell that it's at herself. 

 

If she is laughing about this, why has he been borderline spiraling? Losing it. Making up entire scenarios in his head.

 

This is just as hard for her as it is for him at least on some level. He’s never heard her stutter like this unless she was flustered. His face splits into a grin and he echoes in her ear, “me, too.”

 

“So tell me what you didn’t love last night,” Olivia demands. “Is it that I kept saying harder?” 

 

The end of her sentence is whispered and knowing she’s talking about this in her office, at her desk somehow makes it sexier in his mind. 

 

“Yeah,” he responds easily. They’ve successfully made it over their first awkward hump as this new version of them and it makes him proud. Hours earlier he’d been scared he’d ruined them forever. He remembers when they were the best of friends and used to do this. Speak openly, in a way he'd never been able to do with Kathy. They're blunt with each other, sometimes brutally, because it was the nature of their partnership. Of course, they did this with certain parameters back then, but they’re on new turf now so he answers honestly. “I was afraid you were gonna ask me to choke you...”

 

Olivia laughs. “Well, if I had to beg you to go harder, I highly doubt I could’ve gotten you to choke me last night.”

 

The line goes silent.

 

She laughs a little harder. “El! Lighten up. I’m not going to push you beyond what you’re used to.”

 

Beyond what he’s used to? He finds himself beginning to spiral again, but this time it’s imagining what kind of things Olivia Benson likes to do in the bedroom. "How about next time, you ask nicer?"

 

"You need me to say please?" Please! Harder! He hears it in his head, creating the sound of her voice begging easily, especially with the memories of them together being so fresh. "I'm sure I can do that."

 

“Let me come see you tonight.” He throws it out there before his mind can go too far down the rabbit hole, just to see what she’ll say and hoping that she’ll say yes. 

 

“No,” she laughs. “I’m leaving here soon to put Noah to sleep and… I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep quiet.”

 

He feels bolder now after that statement. Cocky. “Oh yeah? You going right to bed?” he asks, voice deeper.

 

“I meant from all the laughing!” Olivia exclaims. “You remember us laughing yesterday? Right?” she continues to poke. 

 

“Oh.” Is he reading her all wrong again? He thought the laughter last night stemmed from nerves— but is this always going to just feel amusing to her?

 

"And the moaning, El," she adds after a silent beat. He knows she's rolling her eyes at him, knows she sensed his bruised ego because she knows him. "And because you're such a great lay." 

 

"I used to think you were funny," he mumbles chuckling. 

 

"Sorry! Not used to you being so sensitive, Stabler." He listens to her fingertips and her keyboard for a bit before she's back to giving him her full attention. “So to clarify: no, you cannot come over because we'll probably be too loud from all the fun we're having. And no, I’m not going straight to bed, and also, no, I am not having phone sex with you. Before you ask.”

 

“How about a regular call when you get home? After you spend time with Noah.”

 

“Okay. I don’t see the harm in that.”

 

“And maybe a photo?” His face winces tight as he waits for her answer. He knows it’s only been a few hours since he’s seen her last, but he misses her face already. “I could do the same?” he offers and it’s followed by him nervously clearing his throat.

 

A photo? What the hell is he thinking? Do friends with benefits do that?

 

Olivia blows out a loud breath, and then she answers after a beat. “Maybe.”

 

 

She imagines Elliot sneaking into her place. He's a cop, he should be able to do that easily: go undetected by a pre-teen. He’s a parent, too, and she’s sure he has done this before. She'd joked about it, but if they really, really tried, they could be quiet, right? He must remember what it's like having secret sex, right? 

 

She imagines having him in her home for two nights in a row… do fuck buddies do that? Or is there a time period you're supposed to wait in between meetings? That was the one thing they hadn't discussed. They talked about how they'd behave in public, how they'd be honest with each other and maintain discretion but they never discussed how often they would be doing this.

 

She's about to pull up her work schedule to see if she could finagle a... meeting? God, what do they even call these sex dates? She remembers this being easier with other men. With Elliot, she's intentionally trying to keep this just a sexual thing so it's not coming as naturally. Sometimes she and Trevor would go to museums and Edgar liked to eat at expensive restaurants and going back as far back to Tucker, they'd meet for drinks after work and she'd sneak him in way after Noah's bedtime. 

 

But she and Elliot won't be dating. Before she can open her calendar, she hears a rustle on the other line. “Hey, sorry about that,” Elliot says in her ear.

 

He'd been saying that he isn't disappointed to not be invited over tonight, but he'd been using his sad voice before an interruption from Bernie. Picking up their conversation from before, she starts, “You know, I haven't had any men around Noah in a while. It’s not about you, or anything like that when it comes to my son. It’s just...”

 

“What happens when you have a boyfriend?” he asks.

 

“I haven't dated anyone in a while, El." It's not a lie, but it isn't the whole truth. "I’m not sure how I’ll maneuver, especially knowing Noah is paying such close attention. He’s learning about relationships, and I don’t want him to see me in a casual, friends with benefits thing—“

 

"You mean to tell me I can't tell him what I want to do to his mother behind closed doors?"

 

"You cannot," Olivia confirms, and they both laugh. When the line quiets, Olivia speaks again. "You could tell me, though,” she requests, her voice smooth in his ear.

 

"What?"

 

"What you want to do," she echoes back to him. "To me. Behind closed doors."

 

Elliot chuckles deeply. "I thought you said no phone sex."

 

"I'm just asking you a question," Olivia defends.

 

"Well," he starts, and Olivia can almost hear him thinking. Probably pondering if he should play it safe or say something completely out of line. She waits patiently and he delivers. “I’m sure if you like a little choking, you‘d love it from behind, too.”

 

Olivia laughs. "Excuse me?" 

 

"You don't like that?" he asks. "You don't have to answer. Now that we’re workshopping this, I think I'd rather get you on top anyway."

 

She laughs so hard she has to muffle it with her hand. "Elaborate," Olivia pushes when her amusement simmers. She just wants him to paint the picture for her.

 

"You wanna hear more? I’d like you on top. No clothes on at all because I want to see your tits…”

 

“Okay, okay!“ She taps out first. “No phone sex.”

 

“You started it.”

 

“Either way, I don't sneak men in and out of my home," anymore "and I don’t intend to start doing that with you.” She really should tell him about Tucker soon, now that she thinks about it.

 

“Meet me in the stairwell then.” He’s kidding. She can hear the laughter in his voice and it makes her smile and just a little bit impressed by his insistent flirting. Impressed by all of it really. The Elliot Stabler she knows doesn't speak this way. 

 

“That’s what you used to do as a kid?" she teases back. "Get girls to bend over for you in the stairwell?”

 

Elliot laughs. “I’d never do that,” he says dramatically. 

 

“Liar. I’d love to hear all about it. Honestly.”

 

“Seriously, though,” he says, the baritone in his voice dipping. “Let me know when we can see each other again. No pressure, but come rain, sleet, or snow, I promise to be there.”

 

“Putting all your cards on the table here already?” Olivia teases.

 

“Yeah and I don't mind it. Have a good night, Liv. Get some rest.”

 

“I will. Night, El.” 

 

Olivia sits up just a little, putting her weight on her left elbow, angles her phone up and out, and she takes a quick selfie. Her big curls tumble down over her face, her lashes as still dark with mascara, and her lips are puckered in a kiss. Freckles and fine lines, a hint of flirtation in her eyes— it’s not a nude, which she is sure what he meant when he asked, but it’s something. 

 

She presses send.

 

 

Elliot doesn’t see her message immediately because he hops right into the shower. It turns out to be a good thing because when he sends her a photo of himself, he’s got droplets of water running down his chest, disappearing into the towel tucked at his waist. He’s sucking it in just a little, ensuring his hip bones are showing and the indentation of his groin, too. His body hair is damp and slicked down and he pulls the towel down just a smidge lower. It’s what women like, right? 

 

He holds the camera at a downward angle and lifts his lips in a crooked, enticing smile and snaps the photo, and sends it.

 

Her response is simple: 

 

11:24 PM Olivia my place tomorrow morning 7:45 bring coffee...

 

That’d been the last text message he read before he went to sleep, and it’s the reason why he wakes before his alarm even sounds. 

 

He rolls out of bed, packs his suit and a small toiletry bag, and then he’s on his way to Olivia’s, leaving a note for his mom and Eli. He blames work for his early morning departure and doesn’t feel guilty at all as he drives in the complete opposite direction, headed straight toward Manhattan. 

 

He’s eager to get to her. Maybe too eager. He stops to get their coffee and still arrives fifteen minutes early. It’s fine because he has to wait for parking anyway and uses the quiet time in his car to force his body to relax. 

 

He’d had to do this at her door two nights ago. Breathe and count to ten just to not appear too excited, and he’s having the same issue this morning. He keeps cracking his knuckles, keeps adjusting himself in the front seat of his car, keeps groaning a frustrated breath. It’s suddenly uncomfortable and stifling and he is almost bouncing out of his skin.

 

This is an unbelievable thing happening. He’s found himself in this new relationship with Olivia, and she had been the one to initiate it. Olivia, a woman he’s loved for far too long, is asking him to touch her, to give her pleasure. He’s living in a dream. 

 

He finds a spot on Olivia’s block thanks to people leaving for work and soon after, he spots Noah leaving the building with his sitter, Lucy. They’ve met more than once, but Olivia has made it clear that she doesn’t want them interacting too much until she’s ready. He’s so careful to do this her way, so respectful of her wishes, that even with his tinted windows, he hides his face with his hand when her son walks right by his car. He’s hiding from a child, and once Lucy and Noah round the corner, he breaks out into a laugh.

 

He understands why people do this, keep things casual and sneak around. This shit is exciting.

 

When he’s sure they’re gone, he grabs his things and heads upstairs. The first thing he hears is her voice as he tries the knob, turning it and pushing the door open, stepping quietly into her warm apartment.

 

“I don’t give a fuck,” he hears her say, voice low. He thinks maybe a case has come up or she’s arguing with someone, but when he gets into the kitchen, he finds her leaning against the counter, a smile on her face. “Tell them anything you want.”

 

Their eyes connect, and she lifts a finger to her lips, telling him to remain quiet. She looks beautiful. Like if she were dressed, she could walk out of the door for work. But she’s in that familiar satin robe again. Her hair is curled in waves and her face is all made up. He wonders to himself why she’d waste her time knowing he was on his way to her.

 

Elliot extends his arm, offering her a cup of coffee. She smiles up at him as she takes it and keeps her eyes trained on his as she takes her first sip. “So good,” she mouths, still looking at him. Before he can say anything at all about the seductive way she’s looking at him, she turns her attention back to her phone. 

 

“You know what?” She’s laughing into the phone as he hangs his suit bag up by the door, and he wonders if it’s Fin or Rollins she’s talking to. He doesn’t ever remember her being particularly chipper in the morning, but now she’s moving around her kitchen, her cell phone tucked between her shoulder and ear, the coffee cup in her hand as she one-handedly puts away bread and the fixings for a sandwich, she looks happy.

 

She’d just finished making Noah’s lunch, he assumes. She’d been in the middle of a typical morning, and this feels intimate watching her.

 

It’s a privilege for him and he knows it, so he leans against the wall, crosses his arms over his chest, and enjoys the visual of her tipping up on her toes to put cereal in the cabinet, bending over to stuff jam and milk back inside the refrigerator. Her body is covered, aside from her long, thick legs, and it’s still so sexy to him. He can see the movement of her breasts and her ass with every movement, and he knows that she’s naked or very close to it underneath that thing again. Her nipples are peaked and very visible, and he’s lost in the memory of having them in his mouth. 

 

Somewhere during his full on examination of her body, she stops moving at all. Her right thigh pokes out as her legs cross one over the other and he can’t help but follow the freckled skin down the rest of her leg to her painted toes and back up again.  

 

Granted, the journey is slow, but when he gets to her thighs again he finds her hands tugging open the robe just a little further, letting it hang around the curve of her breasts and hips, still covering her but exposing the bra and cleavage bunched on her chest, her belly that still has lines and cuts from years of working out but also a softness now that makes his hands ache to touch. 

 

His lips fit into an appreciative smile when she brings the coffee cup up to her mouth and sips casually.

 

When had she put the phone down? When had she stopped talking? Jesus.

 

They’re in broad daylight, and he can see all the little imperfections, the marks, the curves. Her breasts are sitting high on her chest under the lacy bra that absolutely cannot be the one she wears to work. It’s thin and completely sheer, and he can clearly see the anatomy of her full breasts and upturned dark nipples. They manage to look so supple and heavy straining against the fabric that he forgets to breathe. 

 

He wants to drop to his knees right there, to taste her, suck her gently into his mouth, and make her moan. 

 

He’s been looking forward to this and now that he’s here, he’s stuck. 

 

 

“You okay?” Olivia asks, still sipping at her coffee. He’s trying to figure out how she looks so at ease today when she’d been the one nervously cackling into his mouth their first time. He can’t get himself to respond so he stalks right over to her, grabs her hips in his hands, gripping at her warm body and his mouth drops to her forehead. 

 

He moves slowly, drags his mouth from the crown of her head to her cheekbone, to the dimple in her cheek, her jaw. “El?” She turns her head toward him just fractionally and their noses brush and heavy breaths intermingle. She’d been laughing just minutes ago and he’d been hyped up on anticipation and now it’s intense and he can hear what he thinks is both their hearts pounding in his ears.

 

He’d meant to come over here and rock her world and be a little rough like she likes, but he finds himself dipping down slowly and kissing her softly. His hands remain on her waist, thumbs brushing her ribs as he pulls back to read her face, blue searching eyes flitting from her damp pink lips, up her nose to her dark lashes still closed and brushing the tops of her cheeks.

 

“You’re sweet,” she whispers, and then she’s looking up at him and stepping around him, throwing, “come on,” over her shoulder. She pulls him behind her and when she glances back, his eyes are on her ass and his bottom lip is pulled into his mouth. “You are not subtle at all, Stabler.”

 

“You know why I’m here,” he grumbles. His feet quicken behind her and his strong arms encircle her waist, wrapping her in a tight hug. Their legs align and move together and Olivia’s head falls back to his shoulder, her eyes slipping closed again as she blindly allows him to lead them to the living room. He spins them and sits first but keeps his hands gripped on her hips. He drags her, easily seating her in his lap and she lets an uncharacteristic giggle escape her mouth.

 

His hands glide up the soft material of her robe and squeeze at her heavy breasts, trying to fit them both in his hands as he sticks his nose in her hair. He breathes deep when she wiggles a little in his lap, flexing upward into her, sliding his hardening erection against her bare skin. He pulls the robe off of her shoulders, kisses a line down her spine, tipping her over so that he can pull the hem up to her waist and get a good look at her sitting in his lap this way.

 

She isn’t naked — she’s wearing this lacy bra and a simple black thong and Elliot is buzzing, his body humming as his large hands caress up her pliant thighs, stopping to squeeze at her hips and then pop! He smacks her ass cheek with one hand swiftly, making her yelp and turn to him again, showing him her flushed face and begging eyes.

 

"El," she whispers.

 

He grips her jaw and draws her back to fasten his mouth to hers. As his tongue breaks the seal of her lips, she begins swaying on his lap, dragging her ass across the thin material of his sleep pants. Her back is pressed against his chest, hips rolling and rolling until Elliot's hands tighten on her hips. “Shit,” he cries against her mouth, stilling her. Their lips press together in one last quick kiss, but Olivia keeps their closeness as she attempts to grind again under his hold, teasing a little more and before she’s even caught onto his movements Elliot has pushed his pants down and slipped her robe up, fisting it in his hands as he easily lifts her just high enough to get inside of her. She tenses immediately and braces herself as she slides down onto him slowly, inch by inch until she’s fully seated in his lap again. They barely move at all with him deep inside and just the slight press of his hips upward into her body as she adjusts to his size is enough for them to both gasp in pleasure.  

 

Olivia leans forward, both hands branding his hairy, muscular thighs as she uses him to push off before sinking right back down. Elliot holds her by the waist helping her ease up and down until she’s found a rhythm and she knocks his hands away, confidently bouncing and rocking, throwing her hips back, her head back, tossing her long hair down the length of her bare back. 

 

She goes until her thighs are burning and she gets herself to the brink of coming, but not quite there yet. It takes her bending over and gripping the coffee table and for Elliot to take over, holding her by her cheeks and fucking up into her. “Harder!” 

 

“You sure?“

 

“You really are sweet,” she mumbles and his eyes look for hers but finds only the back of her head and a glimpse of her teasing grin.

 

“When you say that to me I know it’s not a compliment,” Elliot grumbles.

 

“It is!” she insists. “Sometimes,” she adds lowly.

 

Elliot grumbles out something else unintelligible and he adds more force behind the thrust of his hips. He fucks and fucks until there is sweat dripping down his chest and Olivia shrieks every time he gets deep enough to bring tears to her eyes. Loving the sound of it, and the glassy delirious look she gives him over her shoulder, he attempts to do it every single time until she’s almost running from him, hopping off of him suddenly, plopping down on the couch next to him her mouth wide in awe. 

 

“What?” he asks, almost in a panic. “Are you okay? Did I—“

 

“Fine,” she rushes out. She’s embarrassed because she couldn't possibly tell him why she’d practically jumped off of him because it’s… a lot. Any more and she would’ve made a mess… how does she explain that to him? “I can’t… that was a lot… If I— do that position for long… it’s… I—“ would’ve squirted. Her cheeks turn red at her sudden interruption and inability to speak. 

 

It hasn’t happened in years so she takes a deep breath and she reaches for Elliot’s hand. “I’m fine,” she assures him, and to really prove it, she tugs gently. “Come here.” 

 

Olivia turns her back to him but he needs to see her so he brushes her hair over her left shoulder. “Like this,” she tells him.

 

He kneels behind her on his knees, watching her as she finds a comfortable position with her arms thrown over the armrest and her robe puddled in the arch of her back, and the tiny thong he never managed to get off of her stretches thin between her thick thighs— just the visual makes his dick jump in his hand. 

 

“You’re gonna be a problem for me aren’t you, Benson?”

 

“Haven’t I always been?” she breathes back. 

 

He’s amused by that and grins delightedly to have her talking to him as he smoothes a calloused hand down her back, focusing on her spine. “Yes,” he admits with a chuckle. 

 

Gripping a handful of himself, he prods gently at her folds again before he slides all the way in. Olivia murmurs his name, breathes deep, and nuzzles her face into the chair as she braces herself again. He gets deep and she arches her back even deeper, opening further for him, sucking him in and there’s a moment where she thinks he considers just staying like this, unmoving and just filling her from behind. 

 

Her body needs more so she moves first, spurring him on. “Harder,” she commands in a breathless whisper. “Please,” she adds and he curses behind her.

 

“Fuck, baby," he murmurs.

 

"Please!" Olivia whimpers, remembering. How about next time, you ask nicer?  "Please, harder."

 

"Thatagirl,” he rasps, drunk on her sickening body and the breathless way she begs. He looks down to watch himself pound in and out of her, looking at the fleshy mounds of her ass and how she leaves him glistening and shuddering.

 

Between her thighs is wet now and the harder he drives into her body the louder she whines. She's not saying anything but it translates filthy and needy in his ears. Large dark eyes find his, fluttering at him over her shoulder and despite the utterly ruined sounds she makes, she smiles. Knowing she's enjoying this as much as he is, feeling her soft and tight, hearing her is overwhelming and makes him pump his hips frantically. He can see her breasts swaying and bouncing with every push of his hips so he reaches around her front grabbing two handfuls, squeezing at her nipples in the process. 

 

It's beautiful like a storm. She releases a pleased cry that gets higher and higher until she is reduced to only panting for air, quivering, trembling, her body jerking, and legs stiffening. Her shoulders and back arch and stretch. Her toes point, her belly tightens, her vagina tightens and flushes all around him. 

 

“Jesus, Elliot! God!” 

 

And then she flattens out and her body softens everywhere. 

 

Elliot laughs, breathing heavily and noisily. "You okay?" He asks, but he's turning her on her back easily with gentle force and urgency behind it.

 

His brows are bunched together like he’s right about to burst so she is disappointed just a little— not for it to end, but to have him finish on her belly. It’s fine, really, she supposes. He can honestly finish anywhere he wants with her and she’s thinking just that as he rips her thong off and his fingers wrap tightly around her ankle to gape her leg open holding it there so he can watch as he slides, full and so damn imposing back into her tight, gripping body. Goosebumps break out on her skin first, then his, his hair follicles literally standing and his scalp tingling as he enters her again. They both sound as he thrusts one time and one time only and then he deliberately explodes deep inside of her, with a violent groan that strings along longer than he’s comfortable with. 

 

He’s shuddering and shivering and a little self-conscious that he sounds like it’s the first nut he’s ever cracked.  

 

It’s way too much. 

 

Way too intense for a thing between friends.

 

His eyes lift open and Olivia just smiles one of her signature smiles. It's funny being that her hair is a matted mess and she's got one solitary tear puddled under her left eye that finally falls and trails a line of her mascara down her cheek. "We're supposed to go into to work after that?" she whispers, eyebrow arched, lips twisted in a satisfied smirk.

 

Of course. True to form, Olivia hits him with a joke. He's just about died and Olivia is grinning lazily, eyes low, not a care in the world.

 

He can't even form words.

 

"I'm going to shower first, then you." Both of her hands reach for her hair as Elliot carefully pulls out of her and collapses on his back. "That okay? Think we can get out of here within the hour?" She's right back to the all-business Olivia he'd walked in on an hour ago.

 

Olivia sits up, adjusting her robe and snagging her underwear up from the floor. She groans when she stands and his eyes widen.

 

"You okay?" he asks, his voice hoarse from his release a second ago.

 

"No I'm fine, I just-- gravity," she explains, crossing her thighs. "So showers? And then work?" she asks again, already headed out of the room. 

 

"Yeah, sure."

 

He wants a kiss. Or to have her lay back down... or a moment to just commemorate what has happened, again, but he's stuck watching her leave.

 

"Jesus Christ, Stabler. I'm gonna be feeling this all day," follows behind her retreating form. 

 

Elliot sighs once she's gone, closes his eyes, and fuck— this isn't going to work.

Chapter Text

A/N: I just realized I keep writing the same story over and over and I don't even care. also, this isn't edited so forgive me.

 

“S-Slow down…”

 

“Slow down?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Elliot rears his head back to get a full view of her, afraid for one second that maybe he's hurt her. All he finds is Olivia blinking up at him, strands of dark hair falling into her eyes. “Why are you blushing?” he asks, noticing that the redness on her chest is now covering her cheeks. She’s only wearing his T-shirt but it’s bunched over her breasts and the rest of her is bare. She’s split open accommodating his girth between her legs still and he doesn’t even bother to pull out to have this conversation with her. 

 

“I’m not blushing,” she lies. She knows she is. She feels the heat on her skin.

 

“I’m hurting you?” he rasps panting, his chest still pumping rapidly as his breathing fights to return to normal. Olivia only shakes her head in response and now he’s confused. “First couple of times we had sex you begged harder and now—“

 

“I’m gonna fuck the sheets up,” she rushes out, lifting an arm to cover her eyes, hiding in the cuff of her elbow. She tries to fight it, but she’s grinning now and refusing to look at him. Instead, she focuses on calming her body down from just ten seconds ago when he’d been drilling into her over and over. She's buzzing, even with him deep inside of her like this unmoving. Just one more stroke, she thinks, one more stroke and she's sure she would've exploded. 

 

Just like the last time this happened on her couch, her intent is to put an end to it but Elliot clears his throat, subtly begging for her attention before dropping wet kisses onto her arm. Her arm lifts a bit and when she peeks under it, she finds him grinning, too. “Oh yeah?” he asks.

 

God. “That doesn’t mean I want—“

 

"Why not?"

 

"It's..." She doesn't know what to say. It's fucking embarrassing and after the thrill of it, it's annoying to change the sheets or to sleep in the wet spot.

 

"It's what?" he presses, smirking down at her.

 

“It gets messy,” Olivia whispers in warning but she sees it in his blue eyes— the word messy only excites him.

 

“These are my sheets,” he reminds her, his eyebrows shooting up, grin widening.

 

It's their usual to meet at Olivia's place, and he'd been there twice last week for the second week in a row, but this morning, they're in Long Island City. Olivia called to let Elliot know that she'd be in Queens and how she would love to stop by for lunch if he could possibly make it back home midday? It took no convincing at all. His answer had obviously been yes.

 

She regrets it now as Elliot slides right back in the position he’d been in originally, sprawled out on top of her, their legs aligned almost, their bare bellies and groins completely pressed together. The only difference this time is he steals her hands one by one, planting them just slightly above her head, raising her breasts so high that he gets to fuck her and suck at her nipples at the same time. Her hands restrained like this means he gets to study her face as he moves slowly, pulling his hips back just to dramatically push his way back inside of her.

 

Not only does he find the perfect spot easily, but he also builds the anticipation of her release higher and higher, taking his sweet time. Her body starts buzzing again, but he's so gentle. She almost tells him to go harder, to do more than move like molasses while kissing from one breast to the next. He licks teasingly then sucks at the taut, dark buds, getting as much of her breast into his mouth as he can. "Mmm," he moans, sucking. His hands squeeze at hers, locking their fingers in a tight grip, eyes on hers the entire time. He’s deliberate about the way they have sex now. He’s admitted it to himself that his feelings for Olivia far exceed what they’re doing and in his mind, he’s making love to her. Whether she knows it or not. Whether she wants him to or not. There's love behind every touch, every kiss.

 

There's also fear and doubt. He's still unable to understand it completely. He is in heaven here with her and what they do, what goes on between them is sacred to him. It's not just sex, it couldn't ever be. Every moment with Olivia is great... it is when they're apart that his anxiety trips him up.

 

He doesn't know anything about her or her love life, or her past love life. She doesn't know anything about Kathy or their marriage. Olivia has no idea how many times he's denied his feelings for her to his wife. She doesn't know how many lies he's forced himself to tell, how many lies he's forced himself to believe. There's something like guilt he still holds and he's afraid to be completely honest about that so they haven’t actually spoken about his concerns.

 

He’s careful not to do too much or to ask for too much. He doesn't feel entitled to it, not yet. He just needs time, he thinks desperately as his mouth drags over her jaw seeking her lips again. He's aware of his avoidance issue here, but kissing Olivia makes the heaviness dissipate instantly. With her hands still pinned by his, she lifts her head to chase his lower lip, to bite it, to draw him back to her.

 

It drives him to pump his narrow hips faster, harder, sliding between her soft thighs and slamming down with a little more force. She gives him a low-pitched cry from her gut. "Fuck," she whispers, chuckling.

 

He’s gotten to be exceptional at eliciting these sounds from her mouth and he knows a little portion of her probably hates it. He could have drawn an orgasm from her body a while ago, so with renewed passion, he works to get her back to the high-pitched, whimpering Olivia she'd just been. Before he can get the explosion he's seeking, without any warning, Olivia tightens like a damn slippery warm vice, like she’s seeking an actual vengeance, and Elliot’s hips stutter.

 

His eyes dart up to her face, narrowing again. “You’re trying to make me come first,” he pants.

 

“So,” she breathes as she does it again, squeezing her walls around him, and they both moan.

 

“No fair,” he claims in a breathy whisper. Elliot is competitive, especially with her, so he shoves his confusing feelings aside to really focus, dragging his dick along her tight walls, pulling completely out of her before slamming down. 

 

"El," Olivia whines softly. She turns her head just slightly, noses his cheek until their sights are locked in a gaze. Her eyes are glassy and her pupils are dilated and he knows these are all telltale signs she’s about to come.

 

“C'mon. I want you to, baby,” he growls against her and he can see the effect it has on her. She’s already wailing against his cheek and trying her best not to come so soon, not to burst all over him but Elliot is coaxing an orgasm from her with his body, and his oozing, sexy voice just multiplies the pressure, and her sensitivity. It starts as a soft throb around him and it intensifies with the brush of his lips on her ear. “I want you to come, baby. Can you do that for me?”

 

It doesn’t take any fancy maneuvering because she is so close already, and he is so close to her ear assuring her, "That's it. That's it, Liv," repeatedly. 

 

Elliot chomps down on his bottom lip, determined and digging his body into hers until her eyelashes flutter and her eyes roll to the back of her head. “I want you all over me,” he pleads, voice scratchy and manly and so convincing.

 

"Shut up," she moans. Olivia's jaw juts upward and her back arches off of the bed, pushing her soft breasts against his chest, burying her face in his neck. Every time he slides in and out of her body, she convulses a little, breaks a little, hollers embarrassingly loud until she's biting on his shoulder to contain it all. His body, sweaty and slipping against hers, hard and ripped against her softness does this to her. It’s an obliterating feeling, coming apart, clenching and unclenching, sucking him in and then bursting.

 

She growls, groaning so deep it doesn’t even sound like it comes from her, sounding out until her body relaxes finally and settles into the closest thing to euphoria she's ever felt. Her thighs split wide open and her legs lock around his hips, pulling him with her calves until he’s pounding against her and all she can hear is the splash of her body and their bodies making wet sounds as they collide. 

 

She goes deaf temporarily, sucks for air desperately and it only registers after her body calms that Elliot is drawling her name unrestrained in her ear. “Liv, Liv!”

 

She has the urge to push him away, sensitive and feeling like her bones will all shatter but his hips come to a slow stop soon after.

 

Still nestled deep inside of her, he brushes his stubble against her skin, drags his tongue up her throat, then kissing gently, moving higher and higher until he makes it to her mouth and without looking at her, not wanting to see her checked out as she usually is after recovering from sex like this, he attaches his mouth to hers in a desperate kiss. It takes her a second but she detangles their fingers and goes for his jaw and holds him as their tongues touch and slide together. He sucks her lower lip, drags his teeth over it, groaning and pressing his hips down even more. 

 

“God,” she rasps when he finally pulls back.

 

Their eyes meet and she says they’re friends. She says that but he knows it isn’t at all true. 

 

Just friends his ass. He thinks it but he doesn’t say it. Instead, he asks, “Wanna grab lunch?”

 

 

“Lunch?” she mutters, her wide eyes searching his. Lunch? After he’d just got her body to do… all of that, he wants to talk about lunch?

 

“Yeah. After you help me change the sheets, of course,” Elliot breathes, chuckling. He leans down and kisses her one last time before he does a full push up. He’s fucking grinning looking down at her and she’s suddenly cold and her nipples harden again. “Jesus Christ,” he mutters appreciatively and Olivia drops both her hands to cover herself, hiding the mess she’s made. 

 

“Sorry.”

 

“Don’t be.” Elliot drops down and kisses the damp skin of her belly before he’s up on his feet. “We can order a couple salads from the pizza spot?”

 

“Salad. Right.”

 

She’s in a daze when she sits up and throws her legs over the side of the bed. She pulls his shirt down and she tries to shake off this feeling inside of her that she can’t quite name. She feels it simmering like it had been simmering before this all started. She’d wanted, originally, to have him take her on a date, perhaps? To hold hands, to kiss slow, and take long walks? 

 

But Elliot isn’t ready for that.

 

This had been her second idea, this 'friends with benefits' scenario they’re in.  It's great and it has been sexually fulfilling and fun…

 

It just isn’t what she wanted.

 

“Ceasar?”

 

Her eyes widen at the sound of his voice. “Huh?” 

 

“Chicken Ceasar Salad?”

 

Olivia turns to find Elliot back in his underwear holding up on his phone. He’s got the menu pulled up and thumbs down the menu for show. 

 

“Yeah, that’s fine,” she answers finally. 

 

She guesses she never quite thought they’d be able to manage this— and she’s kind of… offended?

 

“I’ll run out to get it in ten.” 

 

Elliot leaves but comes right back with sheets so she stands on one side of the bed, him on the other and they strip the mattress together in silence. Usually, she'd be teasing him about how she's going to be ruined all day, but the words don't come. It's a lull, an awkward one. They're both thoroughly fucked, her thighs are still wet and she couldn't even imagine what her hair probably looks like, but it's eerily quiet.

 

“You okay?” He's got his hands on his hips, blue eyes narrowed.

 

“Yep,” she answers.

 

“You’re quiet.”

 

“El, I’m just helping you change the sheets,” she snaps, but she hears it and knows it's unwarranted. She untucks the last covered corner of the bed and Elliot gathers the damp material, rolling it into a ball to toss into the laundry basket. Both of his dark eyebrows are heightened and his lips are thinned but he doesn’t say anything and it just makes her feel worse. “Sorry,” she whispers. She has both of her hands on her belly and breathes in and out before swallowing hard as she looks for a plausible explanation for her tone. “I just… I’ve gotta get back to work.”

 

“Ok, no problem. When I come back with the food, you can take it to go. If you want?”

 

“No… I just….”

 

They both go silent again and Olivia just stands there watching Elliot strip each pillow. She realizes after a moment how awkward she’s made this, sees how he is trying not to fight with her. She walks slowly around the bed, leans against his dresser until he turns to look at her.

 

“Liv, tell me what the problem is? We just had great sex and I thought we’d have a quick lunch. I wasn’t— did I do something wrong?”

 

“No,” she answers quickly. “You did everything right, I just…” She shrugs a shoulder as she searches for the words. It was fucking perfect... and then he'd been talking about food, of all things, and... she doesn't know how to make it make sense without putting all of her cards on the table.

 

I want more and I want you to want more, too.

 

She bites her lip and she searches her brain looking for any excuse at all. Sex with Elliot had been exceptional and as usual, he’d been sweet and attentive and for a second it just felt… too real.  “You called me baby,” Olivia blurts.

 

He frowns instantly but nods. “Yeah, I did, and not for the first time.”

 

“Well, I don’t like it,” she whispers. “We’ve been doing this a lot. I think we need to just…”

 

“Slow down?” Elliot asks, finishing her thought for her.

 

“Sure.”

 

Elliot nods and keeps his face straight. “Whatever you want.” He starts unfolding the fresh sheets as she watches before he clears his throat. “Let me do this and you go shower. I’ll have your salad by the time you’re dressed?”

 

“Okay.”

 

 

Olivia emerges from his bathroom smelling like him, dressed the way she’d arrived in her black slacks, boots, and blazer. Her hair is tied back and her make-up fixed and the remnants of what’s just happened between them have been washed away. 

 

He’s packing her lunch for her, his back toward her and he thinks after her outburst she may just leave but she walks straight to him and wraps her arms around his middle, resting her forehead between his shoulder blades. “Sorry.” She speaks in a tiny voice that makes his chest flutter.

 

“It’s not a problem, Liv.”

 

“I just— I didn’t think we’d be this good at this…”

 

He tries to turn to look at her, but she tightens her hold. “What? Sex?”

 

She smiles sadly and her eyes shut as she takes in his scent one last time. “All of it,” she answers cryptically.

 

He gently but firmly unlocks the clasp of her hands so that he can turn around fully. As well as he can read her, this time he comes back with more questions than answers. “I’ll call you something else,” he offers, palming her cheek. “How about… buddy?”

 

Her nose scrunches. “You gonna call me buddy when you’re trying to get me to have an orgasm?” she whispers with a hint of laughter in her voice.

 

“Yeah.” Elliot drops down to kiss her forehead and before he can stand fully, he lifts a brow at her. “We can talk about it—”

 

“Later,” is her quick response. “Later, okay? I’ll give you a call?”

 

“Ok.” He watches her leave and in the back of his mind, he already knows that things between them just got ten times more complicated.

 

 

Olivia eyes her salad on the seat next to her as she waits for Rollins to meet her. They're going to speak to a victim's family, to give them an update on the details of the open case.

 

She's just left him and she's trying to forget him already. If she could just get the sound of his voice out of her ear, or the feel of his scratchy palms as they run up and down her back... if she could stop herself from feeling...

 

It's all for naught considering she has to adjust herself multiple times in the driver's seat being that she can still feel him inside of her. It’ll make for an uncomfortable afternoon, especially when she is doing her best to not even talk to him. She’s afraid she’ll say too much and the fear of rejection is overwhelmingly crippling.

 

She bottles it all when she sees Rollin’s blonde ponytail swinging from a block away. With her badge clipped on her lapel, she grabs her keys and all those pesky feelings she has are all pushed aside for work. This, she's good at. Working and compartmentalizing and thankfully, she's busy enough that Olivia doesn’t think about Elliot until hours later.

 

She said she’d call, but when she’s walking into her apartment she realizes she hadn’t. Elliot, of course, has bitten the bullet because buried under texts between her and her squad, there’s Elliot’s message, unopened. 

 

7:28 PM Elliot What’s up, KID

 

She laughs. 

 

10:49 PM Olivia kid is worse than buddy.

 

10:49 PM Elliot I like it.

 

10:50 PM Olivia NO.

 

10:50 PM Elliot Bells out of the office Tuesday. I can stop by…

 

She'd love to etch him into her plans, would love to have a repeat of earlier today, but she needs space. If Elliot were any other man, she's sure this wouldn't be happening. She'd be able to fuck him and leave him and go on unbothered, but he isn't any other man. He's the man— the single most important. The only man she's ever really wanted and she knows how heavy that is.

 

Olivia respects him too much to force him into anything, so if he's not ready, she needs to at least protect herself.

 

“Mom!”

 

Her eyes lift and Noah is walking down the hall straight toward her. He's dressed in pajamas, smiling, eyes sleepy. Adorable, he is. “You’re supposed to be sleep!” she exclaims.

 

“Missed you,” he says into her belly as both of his arms wrap around her. She's hugging her baby, kissing at his hairline as she quickly types out a response to Elliot.

 

10:51 PM Olivia I have an early morning on Tuesday. We’ll figure it out.

 

"I missed you, too. My day was insane. How was school?" Noah helps her to the kitchen table and Olivia finds Lucy snoozing on the couch. "What did you do to her?"

 

"Mom, it's almost midnight. Everyone is sleeping at this time."

 

Olivia laughs. "Exactly, Noah." She points toward his room. "Let's get back to bed." As Noah about faces and heads toward his bedroom, Olivia follows. "So, tell me about school."

 

"Today..."

 

Noah's voice drowns out when her phone vibrates. She looks down to read Elliot's response.

 

10:59 PM Elliot Cool.

 

 

He knew it wouldn’t work.

 

The break up text comes the very next morning.

 

7:45 AM Olivia Hey. I'm just taking a couple of days to check in with myself and I think you should do the same. I think we would benefit from taking a breather and that we should ask ourselves if we're making smart decisions and how those decisions are really making us feel. Maybe make plans next week? I’ve got a lot going on that I need to focus on and sometimes that means isolation. We’re good. Yesterday was amazing. I’ll call you. 

 

He chuckles to himself rereading it now, a week later. He goes to type something but erases it and forces himself to leave her alone. He brings a glass to his lips and he drinks, unaffected by the burn. He’s been going to bars a lot by himself and it’s probably a bad habit, drinking alone, but he doesn’t really have anyone he’d even talk to about Olivia. He can’t. It’s in their rules. 

 

Intruding on her isn’t an option either. He feels her skittishness around him and he acknowledges that he has his own shit, too. Though he’s told himself his reasoning behind giving Olivia all this space is because she needs it— he hadn't exactly been in a rush to have this difficult conversation with her. A week apart though has left him craving some type of resolution here. Even if he has to talk about his wife and address his failures as a husband and a friend, he's willing to do it. 

 

They should've already done this.

 

He knew this wouldn’t work, he thinks for the hundredth time. He shouldn’t have gone along with it in the first place but he’d been too flattered and too dumb to really think. Saying yes had been impulsive.

 

Elliot knows he loves Olivia and he has for some time… but he is petrified to fuck this up. He'd never forgive himself. 

 

Elliot’s phone interrupts his wallowing. It's Fin calling and after having no communication with Liv, he jumps instantly at the chance to speak to the man who works by her side daily. “Stabler,” he says into the phone.

 

“I need a favor!”

 

He can tell immediately that whatever it is, it isn’t serious. “What’s up?”

 

“I need you to pick up Liv and Amanda Rollins. They’re at a bar and I have to leave them—“

 

“Are they okay?” Elliot asks.

 

“Fine," Fin chuckles. "They're talking about going shot for shot and I am working tonight and would like to see my lady. Look, I just think they need a babysitter. I haven't seen Liv take a shot in a while and Amanda can be—”

 

“Text me the address.”

 

It's the perfect excuse. He doesn't feel bad either. He couldn't have planned this. He had no clue Fin would call him tonight and he practices how he'll say it when Olivia asks him what the hell he's doing there. She'll ask. She'll probably be pissed. He orders a fifty-dollar uber anyway, and Fin gives him the rundown when they meet outside. It’s just one of those days and alcohol is how they’re coping together. While they’re refusing to leave, Fin at least needs someone to hand over the reins to.

 

Olivia by no means is a sloppy drunk. She laughs more, sure, but keeps herself poised and tonight's no different. She’s sitting at the bar, a bottle of beer in her hand and Rollins is next to her, her back to the bar top, legs crossed in front of her as she animately talks to a pair of gentlemen in suits. Not Olivia. She eyes them all quickly, laughing to herself and she appears preoccupied but he knows she’s definitely listening. She’s always listening and observing, even if she isn't remotely interested in what they're talking about. Her dark eyes are focused on her iPhone so when Elliot finally approaches the group, it’s Amanda Rollins who notices him first.

 

“Detective Stabler,” Amanda greets smiling too big a smile. Drunk, he thinks instantly. “Kyle, John this is my Captain’s old partner Detective Stabler.” The men part and turn to Elliot, one reaching out a hand at a time and as he shakes he realizes he’s seen their faces before. “Stabler, Kyle and John work with Carisi. They stopped to buy us drinks and then started talking about basketball.”

 

“Nice to meet you all,” Elliot says politely but his eyes are on Olivia. Her cheeks are rosy and she looks beautiful when she’s caught off guard like this.

 

"You watch?" Amanda asks.

 

"Uh, yeah. Knicks fan," Elliot answers. He wants to be upset with Olivia, but she just keeps staring at him, pushes her lips out, and flicks her hair over her shoulder while maintaining eye contact.

 

“Elliot…” she finally says.

 

Elliot gives her a small nod. “Sup, kid.”

 

Olivia’s mouth twists at the use of this nickname he’s insistent on using. “How the hell did you find me?” He knew she'd ask.

 

“Didn’t know you were hiding.”

 

“Not hiding…”

 

“Ha,” he responds dryly. This is painful.

 

It’s then when they notice they’re being watched so Elliot clears his throat, suddenly uncomfortable by how tense their exchange is. “Need me to take you home?” he offers.

 

Olivia tips her beer at him. “Not ready to go home just yet. Thanks, though.”

 

“So I’ll have a drink with you then?”

 

She’s about to refuse when Rollins offers her seat. They both watch as she signals the bartender, utters out an order, and then goes back to her conversation, actually moving to give them privacy. “So she’s here often?”

 

“It’s a nice bar,” Olivia answers. “And she can talk to you about any and every sport and once you get her going…”

 

“How drunk is she?”

 

Olivia shrugs. "She's tipsy."

 

"She's drunk," Elliot says, his eyes on the woman he barely knows. "Where's Carisi? They're usually attached at the hip."

 

Olivia shrugs, again. "Don't know."

 

Elliot turns to look at her, lifting his eyebrow at her. “And how drunk are you?”

 

“Oh, I don't get drunk,” Olivia answers.

 

“Right.”

 

Turns out, Amanda has ordered them all a round of beer and when a fresh one is delivered to each of them, Olivia perks up and takes a long swig.

 

"What?" she asks when Elliot starts eyeing her again. He shakes his head, grabs his identical ice-cold beer, and does the same.

 

Maybe it wouldn't be so awkward if they were talking but he doesn't want to do small talk with Olivia anymore. He wants answers. “So the friends with benefits thing we started—“

 

"Elliot!"

 

"Nobody is paying us any attention," he laughs off her excitement, motioning around the busy bar. He's right, not even Rollins is paying them any mind. People are drinking and talking, laughing, and enjoying the beginning of their weekend. "So?"

 

“What about it?” Olivia’s tongue rolls out of her mouth as her lips wrap around the beer bottle and Elliot gulps at the sight. “Cause from what I recall, we’re excellent,” she teases.

 

“So excellent you stopped taking my calls?” Her head is already shaking no so he stops her before she begins, holding up a hand. “Don’t lie.”

 

"Needed space," is her simple explanation. 

 

"But why?" he presses.

 

"I just did."

 

He chuckles dryly, unamused by her inability to budge.

 

"How about..." Olivia starts and he can see the avoidance all over her face. “We get out of here?"

 

His head whips around so he can really look at her. "Excuse me?"

 

"Rollins lives not too far from you,” she tells him. 

 

“So you want me to take Rollins home and leave you here?”

 

Olivia smiles, not taking his bait. “You can drop her home first and then we go to your place?”

 

“Oh,” he laughs. “You don't wanna talk but you wanna do..." His eyes skate around the bar once more, checking on Rollins before finishing, "That."

 

"What? We're good at it." She pushes her hair back and looks up at him through her lashes. "Aren't we?"

 

Elliot chuckles. "Olivia..." Olivia seducing him is not how he predicted for this to go. “We leave here? Then what?”

 

“If you don't want to go to your place, we can do mine? We'll let my sitter go?”

 

We?” Elliot confirms.

 

She nods. “That's what I said.”

 

Last he checked, she didn’t sneak men into her home, even if it was way past her son's bedtime. His eyes narrow at her. “Let’s order water,” he suggests smoothly.

 

“I’m not drunk, Elliot. I want you to come to my place because I would like to have sex." She says it so plainly he doesn't think he's heard her correctly. "So, nightcap?” she asks, voice low so that only he can hear. Elliot just keeps staring at her until finally, she breaks, “Fine. For you, I'll drink some water."

 

He’s suspicious of Olivia’s behavior. She disappeared on him and now she's suddenly inviting him into her home while her son is there. It's close to midnight and he's sure that must mean he's asleep but, still.  He shakes his head as he tries to make sense of it and he must not look convinced because she continues.

 

“Look, I got scared. You kept calling me baby and I just..." she pauses to shrug. Her eyes are wide and full of emotion as she stares at him. "I didn't expect..."

 

The struggle on her face makes him want to just wrap her in his arms. To stop this. To jump right back into avoidance with her. 

 

"I didn't expect..." She makes one last attempt and for one moment, he can see it all so clearly. Hear it so clearly. To want so much so soon. They might not be her exact words, but he can feel the shared sentiment between them.

 

He should say something.

 

Sighing, she reaches out and her hand lands on his shoulder. It slides tentatively up to the back of his head and it feels suspiciously intimate. She leans closer, licks her lips, looks up at him, and before she can speak, he already decides that the answer is yes. Whatever it is she wants: Yes.

 

"Can we just get out of here? Please?"

 

 

“You have to stop,” Olivia cries. She wasn't going to say anything. She always isn't going to say anything... right before she says something.

 

He grins instantly. “What? Are you okay? Gonna come already?” he growls, meeting her eye line. She looks fine. Her eyebrows are still relaxed, she’s still sucking on her bottom lip like she always is, still whimpering just slightly.

 

She'd had a bottle of water before they left the bar, but it'd done nothing for her. In fact, after playing sober the entire ride to her apartment and ushering Lucy out of the door, once she got inside her bedroom she began feeling it all. Every shot, every beer, and the buzz she gets from Elliot's kiss makes it all worse.

 

She'd kept her decorum earlier, alluded to her feelings but said nothing too damaging. Now, she can't hold it in. “I’m talking about the way you’re fucking me,” she mumbles out, their noses brushing. Her filter is gone. “If you don’t stop, I’m going to fall in love. I’m going to want it all..."

 

She usually wouldn’t say this but today apparently, she's saying a lot. 

 

“Mmm,” he groans deeply, eyes closed, savoring it, she thinks. It’s probably the sweetest thing she’s ever said to him. “So we don’t stop.”

 

“No,” she barks, but her lips crash against his as she forces him closer.

 

“Look at me, Liv.”

 

“No,” she grunts back, but she whines softly, quietly as he presses into her with more and more force each time. She crams her eyes shut and her hands grasp at the comforter beneath her. 

 

"No?" He halts all movement, stays deep inside of her as he tilts his head to kiss her sensually. His tongue invades and moves so slowly it forces a moan from her mouth. “I’ll just kiss you like this then. No rush.” The just kissing somehow manages to be worse. The slight flex of his hips forces him to rub against her walls so far up it makes her toes curl and she fights herself to stop kissing him back but she can’t.

 

She can't stop kissing his lips, can’t stop the way her vagina clamps down on him and how is this just as breathtaking as sex?

 

She whimpers into his mouth before pulling away. “Sonofabitch. Fine.” She flashes her glassy dark eyes up at him. “I’ll look at your ugly face. Fine,” she mutters and they both shake with laughter.

 

“We should’ve done this right, kid,” he mumbles against her lips.

 

“You aren’t ready,” she whispers, emotional.

 

"How would you know? If you stop talking to me?"

 

"Well, I don't want to talk right now. Do you?" Olivia brushes her nose against his, runs her lips over his as her hands slowly reach around to his ass. “C’mon,“ she groans, pulling him tighter against her body.

 

Olivia lifts to catch his mouth in a kiss. She’s already drunkenly admitted to him that she could fall for him. That was already crossing a line. The last thing she wants to do is expose herself any further. 

 

“Flip us over,” she orders, hooking her hands around his neck, holding on as he easily rotates their connected bodies. 

 

They're going to have to talk. It was the only way she could convince him to come inside. A promise to talk it out with him. Not tonight though. Not while they're drunk, not after she's had an awful day.

 

She smiles down at him but closes her eyes as she begins to swing her hips cautiously. She’s planted both of her hands on his belly, the hair there ticking her fingers as she gets comfortable, as she finds a pleasurable rhythm. She tries to forget this night and tries to erase the confessions from her memory, tries to think of how she didn’t just expose how fucking soft she is for him. The alcohol helps, Elliot's touch, his big hands on her hips helps, the weight of his dick helps, and then she’s floating, and bucking on top of him and the burn in her thighs doesn’t even really register.

 

The sound of her own voice, the moaning leaving her mouth isn’t even enough to bring her down. Even when she does open her eyes to find Elliot’s mouth stretched and his eyebrows stitched, it doesn’t register that she’s having an orgasm, that he’s having an orgasm until she looks down and sees her own body shaking. Her breasts swaying, her own stomach contracting, her thighs drawing in, and then it’s Elliot, his sharp cry ringing in her ear, Elliot pulling her chest down to his and locking his arms around her body, grabbing her ass and forcefully holding her to him that brings her back down to Earth.

 

“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck,” he utters over and over again, his huge body still recovering from jolts of overstimulating pleasure.

 

Olivia, whose movement is fully being hindered by Elliot’s strong arms, chuckles and turns her head into his face to whisper, “Sorry.” 

 

“Gonna kill me,” he murmurs against her forehead, arms tightening. He isn’t giving her any latitude at all, considering he’s almost seen his last day inside the hold of her body.

 

“Sorry,” she repeats.

 

She’s sorry. She didn’t mean to keep fucking him, didn’t mean to keep pulling from him until he almost disintegrated to nothing beneath her. She didn’t mean to keep riding him or pushing her body so far that she’s sure to feel the burn of it in the morning. 

 

She cranes her neck so that she can meet his eyes with hers.

 

If you don’t stop, I’m going to fall in love. I’m going to want it all.

 

She stares at him and for the second time tonight, she’s honest. Breathlessly she confesses, “I think it's too late.”

 

Chapter Text

A/N: thanks Whip!

Chapter 4

 

“What does that mean?” Elliot demands, his hot breath wafting over her breasts, sending chills down her spine again. He can feel her shiver and see her nipples tighten harder. He could get distracted by the sight of her thighs split and cradling his hips so Elliot forces his eyes closed and burrows the back of his head into her fluffy pillows. “Liv,” he starts again. Olivia shifts over him so his eyes snap open, thinking he’s going to find her preparing to run, but she just digs her hands into the mattress above his shoulders. “You said you think it’s too late? For what?” he asks, catching her eyes.

 

Oh, they say to him . “Nothing,” Olivia replies, voice soft, but she’d already let the words slip through her lips, and try as she might, she can’t take it back now. 

 

I’m going to fall in love with you simmers between them and her entire body feels like it is overheating. 

 

She shouldn’t have said that. 

 

She sucks her lower lip into her mouth, focused on keeping a neutral face as Elliot stares hard at her through narrowed eyes. 

 

“I don’t think that was nothing,” he murmurs as he gently coaxes her down to kiss his lips. 

 

“I think you should go,” says Olivia, but then she’s softening her dismissal with another kiss. 

 

“C’mon, Liv,” he begs as soon as their lips part.

 

“It’s not like that,” she whispers sitting up, both of her arms instantly wrapping around her breasts. The moment of ecstasy has faded, and she knows that Elliot is expecting her to make good on the promises she has made… but she desperately needs water and space. Her eyes dance over to the end table and after reading the time, she plays her best card, “And it’s late. Noah is in the other room. We can talk about it later. I promise. Remember? That’s what I said… that I’d definitely talk… just not now .”

 

“Fine,” Elliot huffs. “Just tell me if you agree with me at least.”

 

“About what?”

 

“About us doing this right,” he reminds her.

 

“Yes,” she says, nodding. “ Obviously ."

 

One of Elliot’s eyebrows shoots up at how easily she agrees, his interest piqued. He clears his throat and he pushes a little further. “So a date then?” he asks, rubbing his hands up and down her bare sides. “In public.”

 

Olivia’s lips part. She’s already half-winded, and Elliot is asking for this to be an official thing . He’s asking to break their very first rule. “We agreed…” Discretion , she wants to remind him. They’ve been having sex for weeks and have only been seen together once and it’d been earlier in the night and beyond her control. “I just… I—“

 

A date felt like a leap and as she sputters for words, Elliot’s eyes widen at her. A date , he confirms without speaking.

 

This is where they’re heading anyway, she supposes. It won’t be that bad.

 

“Fine. Yes… A d- date ,” she agrees, but she can barely say it aloud. “Just call me tomorrow and we’ll plan a… and we’ll go out and discuss…” She pauses to press her lips together. “All of our…” She shrugs, uncomfortable suddenly with Elliot watching her. She’s still on top of him, their bodies are still covered with their shared arousal, and only now is she shy. “ Feelings ,” she whispers. 

 

Elliot’s eyes roll and his hands drop from her hips, falling at his sides. He’s seen this routine already. A week ago she’d broken up with him— over text message, and he’d only been able to see her tonight thanks to Fin, so her promise of a date falls on deaf ears.

 

“El, I promise,” she adds weakly, voice still small. She presses a palm into his chest, fanning her fingers over the hair with one hand while still attempting and failing to modestly cover up with the other. 

 

“You promise ?” Elliot mocks. “Like you promised everything was fine and then you broke things off the very next day?”

 

“I’m allowed to ask for space,” she argues back, absently dragging her fingers back and forth on his rosy, freckled skin. Her eyes are on the center of his chest, trying not to look up at him and display the uncertainty on her face. “I’m allowed that. You needed that and I gave it to you.”

 

“You did,” he agrees, but his voice and his face are flat and void of emotion. 

 

She gives him a moment, allows him to just breathe for a moment , like maybe a bit of time will take the sting away and his anger will dissipate a smidgen, but it doesn’t. Elliot taps her thigh. “Get up.” He attempts to sit up, but she reaches out to stop him.

 

“El,” she sighs. “Just… wait. Let’s figure this out…” she proposes but he is unresponsive. 

 

They could actually do this, she thinks. 

 

She’s geared for a long two weeks with Fin leaving for vacation soon, so she should mention that. And she does have a couple of big things going on— McGrath is talking about reopening an SVU cold case while she’s been begging for more men on her squad. SVU already has two active investigations and another that came in late last night. Noah has a performance and, and, and… there’s also an event she needs to prepare for next week… and…

 

The excuses pile on and their date gets further and further away from them. 

 

Olivia clears her throat. “Look, I do want to go on a date with you, El.”

 

“But?”

 

“Wouldn’t it be easier if we have dinner here?” she proposes, voice going up an octave. 

 

Elliot’s bushy eyebrows furrow and he blows out a defeated sigh.

 

“And not this week, probably— I’ll be really busy,” she continues. “With work.”

 

It’s enough for him– or not enough for him, because his hands curl around her hips and he carefully lifts her off of him so he is able to roll out from underneath her.

 

“El…” Olivia scrambles to the side of the bed, stepping over her worn clothes to look for her robe. 

 

“It’s fine, Liv. I should’ve known. This is who you are, right? Would rather sex over intimacy—“

 

“No, I’m actually going to be busy,” Olivia says cutting him off. She has finally shrugged into her robe and is watching Elliot redress. He’s buckling his pants and looking for his wallet and it’s all happening too fast.

 

She’s had too much to drink and this feels like far too much excitement but she attempts to explain still.

 

“Fin is out for ten days for a vacation and we’re supposed to have someone from Hate Crimes coming in, but they’re working a big case and we’re literally working with the bare minimum as is. McGrath is going to be coming by for a meeting to discuss this and then— then I have to appear in court! I don’t know if it’ll be a one day thing or what, but that takes me away from the precinct. I also have some stupid event to attend!” She’s speaking so fast she can barely breathe. “I don’t even recall what it’s for. I have a lot going on with Noah. I expect to have an insane two weeks, but El, I promise…”

 

“Olivia, it’s fine,” he dismisses.

 

“I can see you’re upset.”

 

He holds up a hand and calmly says, “I’m not upset with you. I’m upset with me. I knew better, right?”

 

“El—“

 

“Take as long as you need.”

 

“Like you did?” Olivia asks and Elliot’s movements halt.

 

Elliot nods stiffly and absorbs the blow with grace, and then he’s on the move again.

 

Olivia sits at the foot of her bed and watches as he gathers the rest of his things. It isn’t much. Just his phone and his keys and he checks twice to make sure his wallet is in his back pocket. 

 

“Be safe these next few weeks,” he advises without looking at her. “Or however long you decide.”

 

“Don’t leave being angry with me, El. I’ve admitted a lot here tonight and I just need space to process it.” 

 

Why she asks herself. Why would she say

 

“You’re making this bigger than it is.” Elliot tugs his shirt over his head and doesn’t pause to look at her, just keeps going.

 

“Look, I’m not lying about work. Fin’s last day on duty is Monday. We’ve got a lot of loose ends to close up and then I have to make sure I have coverage and I’ve been begging for more men for what feels like years at this point.” She’s rambling and Elliot is not listening to her. He continues to stick his feet into his shoes, so Olivia continues, “C’mon, El. You know how this goes.”

 

Ignoring her speech, he asks, “You gonna walk me out?”

 

“Look, you said you weren’t ready to date,” Olivia reminds him. “I’m not being selfish trying to protect my feelings. I’m being smart. We should pace ourselves.”

 

“I never said—“ he strops abruptly to breathe. His skin is tinged red he’s so angry. “We’re not doing this.”

 

“Elliot, you did say you weren’t ready to date. In fact, I asked you if you were seeing anyone and you told me you weren’t ready. If you weren’t ready a month ago, what’s changed? Just cause it’s me?”

 

“Yes,” he exclaims. “We both said we weren’t ready.”

 

“I never said that,” Olivia responds. 

 

“Liv, I asked you out over and over. Didn’t I? I know that one time I said I wasn’t dating— because I wasn’t. I wasn’t seeing anyone and I wasn’t interested in anyone—”

 

“So won’t you just— I don’t know! Chill?

 

It’s what she did, she wants to yell. 

 

She’d been drowning under the weight of it all, of how he looked at her, how he touched her, how he made her come so hard every time it’d left her shaken. Every single time, too. Even in the midst of their argument, she can envision Elliot with his lower lip between his teeth and the look of concentration on his face as he brings her to release. She can hear him saying, “I want you all over me” and feel the scratch of his voice and of his beard right between her thighs. He gets her eyes to roll back every time, almost makes her beg and even days after, she’s left reliving his every touch. 

 

It’s been a very confusing time, but now she knows. 

 

Space has given her clarity. It’s the sex. It’s the kind of sex they’re having. 

 

They need to slow down. 

 

The sound of Elliot snickering indignantly breaks her out of her thoughts. He’s talking to himself. “ Chill ?” he repeats quietly. “I’ll do just that,” he huffs. He crosses in front of her twice before he stops at the bedroom door. “I’m sure you’d hate for me to run into Noah so can you...” He points toward the door and Olivia stands to open it, but she takes a second to glare at him first. 

 

Olivia makes a show of looking up and down both hallways to ensure Noah’s room door is still pulled tight and it feels silly having him trail behind her through her quiet, dark apartment after the whirlwind of their night. It’s not that she doesn’t understand his frustration. She initiated this relationship and right when it was getting good, she asked for space. To add to the confusion, she then told him she was falling for him. Then she asked for space. Again .

 

The stove light illuminates the kitchen, but other than that, it’s dark and she’s thankful because she doesn’t have to see his face until she opens the front door for him. 

 

An apology is on the tip of her tongue. “Night, El,” she mutters instead. She folds her arms under her chest, holding herself together, preparing herself to watch him leave. Time slows and her eyes focus on the dips in his clavicle and his broad shoulders turning so that he is able to fit out of the door without touching her.

 

He’s leaving just like she’s asked of him and panic shoots up her spine. He’s almost out of the door before she reaches for his hand, the tips of her fingers catching his. “Hey,” she calls.

 

Elliot’s gaze shifts to hers and the ice of his blue eyes startle her. The words don’t come and her mouth opens and closes with more promises she can’t force herself to make. 

 

“Be safe, Liv,” he says, jaw flexing.

 

She keeps her hand in his for as long as she can, and then he’s gone.

 

— 

 

“So you promised him you’d go on a date to discuss the future of your relationship? And then he gave you all the power and you still haven’t called him? And what? He’s just— left you alone?”

 

Olivia nods. 

 

“And you made this promise when? After— what? A work event?”

 

Peter Lindstrom is still drinking his coffee and his office phone has gone off twice, but he’s allowed her to be here and she's paying for it, so she doesn’t feel guilty about monopolizing his morning with her man problems. She wasn’t on his schedule today, or even this week, but with everything going on, she needed this. She needs to purge all of her thoughts about Elliot so she can do her job and not think about him at all.

 

With everything going on, she needs to be at one hundred percent and quite frankly, she’d zoned out on a conversation with McGrath while silently lamenting about Elliot in her head. It’s been days and she’s been unsettled and unable to sleep again so she just needs to get it out.

 

Unfortunately, she and Elliot have rules and not even Peter Lindstrom knows what she’s been up to with her former partner. She’s been lying to her therapist again.

 

“We weren’t working together,” Olivia clarifies, but she doesn’t offer any other explanation. It doesn’t really matter that they were post-coitus. It doesn’t really matter what she was doing to Elliot (or what Elliot was doing to her) when these promises were shelled out. 

 

“Well, I love that he’s given you space. From what you’ve told me if this was ten years ago, the Elliot that you once knew probably wouldn’t have given you that space.”

 

Olivia’s eyebrows shoot up for a moment as she weighs what he’s just said in her mind. Her hands run over her lap, planting them on her bare knees. She has court in a few hours and really should be behind her desk but she can’t think straight. Yes, she’d asked for space, but she’s not even sure if it's what she actually needs.

 

And for once,  Elliot has… listened . H e’d been so eager before… and usually, Elliot doesn’t take no for an answer. It’s his reputation. It’s been days at this point where he hasn’t called her or even made an attempt to see her.

 

He must be livid with her.

 

“No, he wouldn’t,” she agrees softly. Selfishly, she wonders what the hell has Elliot been doing without her?

 

“You should give him credit for that.”

 

“I’m not— no. Elliot threw a tantrum. He wants what he wants when he wants it and that’s… selfish. And bratty. So the one time he behaves like an adult doesn’t mean I have to just cave to whatever he wants.”

 

Dr. Lindstrom laughs.

 

“Everyone makes it seem like I owe us this and it’s not fair.”

 

Lindstrom shrugs and he takes a sip of his coffee. “It makes sense, you and him, Olivia. It’s kind of romantic if you ask me.”

 

“Romantic?” Olivia scoffs. Elliot returning after ten years across the world is not romantic. “It’s not romantic and he’s not this perfect guy,” she adds. “He’s oppressive and consuming. He walks into a room and you immediately think look at this asshole . He isn’t well-liked and people call him a bully.”

 

“Maybe that’s it. Do you feel bullied by Elliot?”

 

“No,” Olivia replies quickly. “I don’t feel bullied but sometimes I do feel like he tries to initiate things he’s not ready for and then when I’m being reserved, he uses it as an excuse to disappear.”

 

Dr. Lindstrom throws it right back at her. “Weren’t you the one who asked for space?” 

 

Olivia’s dark eyes narrow at him, but there isn’t any animosity behind them. He doesn’t get it so she looks away with a sigh. “You just need to meet him one day…”

 

“How about you tell me more about him?” Dr. Lindstrom proposes. “You always say he’s a good man and he’s a good father and that he was a good husband. We’ve talked about your duty and attachment to each other as partners… but tell me about Elliot, the man.”

 

Where does she start?  

 

“He looks and acts like a cop. He’s buff and intimidating and he’s grouchy. People don’t like him.”

 

Dr. Lindstrom cuts in, “You’ve said that twice.”

 

“Because people don’t,” she deadpans. It’s not like she’s making it up. He does have a reputation. “Generally, people are afraid of him. It’s easier to agree with him than to argue. He’s pushy.” She chuckles to herself because she loves every iffy quality she’s listing. She loves the frown always set on his face, loves how he appears to be one way but is the total opposite, too. “He’s also a champion for victims and puts his all into every case. He’s sweet and he’s attentive…”

 

“Sweet? Attentive?”

 

“He’s listening now,” she clarifies, clearing her throat. She’d noticed his attentiveness first in the bedroom, but she isn’t going there today. “Doing what I’ve asked but…” Olivia shrugs again and she makes a defeated sigh. She’s talking around in circles. 

 

“And that bothers you?” Dr. Lindstrom asks.

 

She nods.

 

“It bothers you that you’ve made these boundaries for him and he’s abiding by them?” he continues.

 

She nods again.

 

“Help me understand, Olivia,” Dr. Lindstrom requests again. She isn’t saying everything and it’s becoming obvious.

 

“I mean he is respecting my boundaries, but he’s still everywhere.” Every morning, every evening, every time she’s had a moment to herself. He has been there.

 

“Sometimes the people we care about can consume us. Is that his fault?”

 

“Yes,” she laughs. “I don’t know. Maybe not.” Olivia adjusts herself on the sofa, tucks her feet together, and threads her fingers into her hair. 

 

“What is it? Are you looking for control? Is that it?”

 

Olivia considers this and she presses her hand to her chest when it dawns on her that it’s exactly what she’s looking for.

 

From the beginning, she’s tried to control their relationship.

 

She goes over the series of events in her head again. She asked him if he wanted to date anyone without ever naming herself as an option. She then offered sex and when the sex was too good and their foundation of friends with benefits cracked… she scurried away. 

 

In the days apart, she’d decided that she was crazy and had been prepared to keep up the facade to protect her heart but Elliot? Apparently, he wanted more and to do this right and…

 

It’s her . She overreacted again and really… 

 

Maybe Elliot isn’t the brat here. 

 

“Yes, I want to control this and he all of a sudden has no fear, it seems,” she admits. “He’s just— he’s asking for what we both want eventually.

 

“I’m happy you brought that up. Olivia, what do you want with Elliot Stabler?” he asks. “Is it that you want to pursue a relationship with Elliot? I suspect you’ve always wanted...“

 

Olivia chews on her bottom lip as she contemplates just telling him. No one else knows, no one at all. She hasn’t been able to share her relationship with Elliot with anyone, though she’s sure both Rollins and Fin are suspicious.

 

“Tell me about what’s been going on, Olivia. Last I saw you, we talked about Barba. You didn’t even mention Elliot. I guess I assumed you opted to leave that relationship in the past.”

 

Olivia’s eyes widen at Dr. Lindstrom, who is calm and professional even with her barging in on him at 8:45 in the morning. He’s got one leg crossed over the other and a notepad in his lap and she knows he doesn’t mean any offense by it, but she can barely stomach the idea. Leave Elliot in the past? She couldn’t even if she wanted to.

 

Isn’t he listening?

 

“That’s not what I want at all,” Olivia insists.

 

“Sounds like it,” Dr. Lindstrom says honestly. “You don’t want a relationship. You don’t want to move forward. He’s allowing you all the control here and you continue to leave things open-ended. How long has it been since that night?”

 

Olivia’s face screws up as she counts. That night he’d left, but the day after was Saturday and it was too soon. And Sunday? Sundays are for her child so she never got around to texting or calling that day either. And Monday, she’d been focused on Fin leaving so she’d been too busy tying up loose ends. Tuesday, she had to welcome Detective Khaldun to the SVU squad for the week and she brought him to lunch and then a case came in… and now it is a Wednesday morning and she canceled her 9 AM meeting… but instead of calling Elliot, she’d called her therapist. 

 

“In my defense,” Olivia starts. “I have a busy job. I’m a mother.” 

 

Her excuses fall flat.

 

“What is it, Liv?” Dr. Lindstrom asks carefully. “Are you afraid of him?”

 

“No,” Olivia answers. 

 

“You always stress how safe you’ve always felt with him… how he’s had your back, how he looks after you. You say that it’s easy to be around him—“

 

“It’s easy when we’re partners. Every time we’ve not been partners, we couldn’t be in each other's lives.”

 

“Why’s that?”

 

Olivia shrugs, but she knows. 

 

She knows that when they were partnered together, they were safe. When they had rules to follow and had to ignore their feelings, they handled each other with prudent hands, keeping the appropriate amount of distance between them, always. Without the partnership, it felt like they were playing fire. It felt reckless and risky and there was no way to know where they'd end up.  

 

Elliot could be the one for her.

 

She'll completely come apart if they fuck this up and they were already halfway there.

 

“Olivia?”

 

She slips and what she’s been holding onto for dear life falls right out of her mouth. 

 

“We love each other,” she confesses. “We’ve always loved each other.” She shrugs and the burn in her nose and the sting in her eyes prevent her from saying anything more. “We love each other,” she says again, threading her fingers in her hair again, resting her elbows on her knees. 

 

Dr. Lindstrom allows her a quiet moment to process.

 

“So when he left, I didn’t—“ she stops talking and shakes her head, uncomfortable but also relieved to finally get it off of her chest. “ I hated it, but I understood it. I got it…”

 

“Still hurts.”

 

“Yeah,” she chuckles weakly. “Look, I got all this romantic advice. Amanda mentioned it. Fin mentioned it. Barba even mentioned it—“

 

“Have you spoken to Barba again?”

 

“No,” she answers, wiping at her tears. “I haven’t.”

 

“Olivia, I get that you’re upset but I am just not understanding what’s going on,” Dr. Lindstrom admits and Olivia laughs to herself. “You’ve mentioned closure. You wanted that and now you’re barely communicating with these important men in your life. Help me understand."

 

He’s not understanding because she’s only told him half the story. 

 

“Things are happening quickly and changing right before my eyes. I miss Elliot. I want Elliot , but I just— can’t. It’s just easier for me to isolate and push forward—“

 

“Why’s that?“

 

What a loaded question? “I tried,” Olivia insists. “Since that session, we had when you told me to explore. With Elliot. I tried."

 

“How did you try?”

 

Well ,” she starts. “We went to lunch as friends. I dug into his love life, and he basically told me he was not ready to be in a relationship with anyone new.”

 

“That’s exactly what he said?”

 

She nods. “Yes. He said he’s not ready to be in a relationship with anyone new.”

 

Dr. Lindstrom cracks a smile. “But how about with someone he’s known for twenty-three years?”

 

“That’s… not what he said,” Olivia says, answering quickly. “That’s not how it went.”

 

“Did you ask him about the two of you?” Lindstrom asks with a knowing smile.

 

Kind of, she thinks. “No.”

 

“Olivia, I have to say— I am confused here.”

 

It feels like she’s on the bad end of an interrogation. “I did not ask him to talk about our feelings though we did admit that we had feelings.”

 

“How do you admit you have feelings for someone and never talk about it?”

 

She shrugs. “We’re not great at communicating.”

 

“I’m picking up on that,” Lindstrom chuckles. “So you admit that you have feelings and then what happened?”

 

“We agreed to not acknowledge them.”

 

Now he’s really confused. “What?”

 

“Yeah,” Olivia says, rolling her eyes. “And then…”

 

“What is it?”

 

Olivia stands to her feet and she walks toward the window to peer outside. Several floors down, New York City is awake and people are running to and fro, dodging taxis in intersections, weaseling through congested sidewalks. She flicks her wrist to read the time. “I should be going.”

 

“Olivia, I respect that this is uncomfortable to talk about but we have known each other for some time—“

 

The words fly right out of Olivia’s mouth. “I invited him over for sex.” She covers her face and speaks into her palm. “He said he was not ready for a relationship, so I told him I wasn’t either, and I invited him over for casual sex.”

 

Oh .” The doctor does the very last thing she expects. He laughs. She’d been prepared for a speech about intimacy, but Dr. Lindstrom’s shoulders shake with laughter as he scribbles into his notebook before he chucks it on the coffee table between them.

 

He looks up at her and her cheeks go red. She’s a grown woman. This shouldn’t be embarrassing, but it’s been a secret in a way she always thought it’d be. She’d never really envisioned them being able to be a couple and being accepted, whether by their peers or his family or her son. Even decades ago, when she wanted him in a bad way, when she’d envisioned it, she never saw an ordinary domesticity with Elliot because loving Elliot has always, always been a secret she held in the deepest recesses of her heart

 

“Sorry,” Dr. Lindstrom says. “It’s just that you didn’t mention it the last time I saw you.”

 

Olivia chuckles softly at the doctor’s attempt to lighten the moment. “No, I didn’t,” Olivia responds in a meek voice. “I convinced myself that because I’ve done it before— maintained relationships with men and kept them at arm’s length— that I could do it again. But we started having sex and it was…” Her hand lifts and Olivia gives Dr. Lindstrom an awkward thumbs up and a tight smile.

 

“Go on, Liv. Might as well get it all off your chest,” the man chuckles quietly, and Olivia’s mouth opens and closes awkwardly. “Does anyone know about you and Elliot besides me?”

 

Olivia shakes her head.

 

“Yeah. I didn’t think so.” 

 

Olivia slowly walks back over to the couch to sit again. She crosses her legs at the ankles, taking in the sharp pointed toes of her heels, and gets as comfortable as she can. “So we started having sex, and it was more intense than I let myself believe it would be. All of these feelings I’ve spent years hiding away just exploded, and I started wanting more but I couldn’t say that when it was all my idea to be casual.” 

 

Oh, here it comes, she thinks. The floodgates are open now. Then, when we were really…when it was starting to really work, and I started feeling myself falling, I kept remembering him saying how he isn’t ready— and I’m usually okay with that. I mean… I was okay with that briefly but then, I don’t know. It wasn’t just sex, and if I had been honest with myself from the beginning, it never could be with Elliot. And then I panicked and I tried to end things— well, pause them. And then Fin invited Elliot for drinks, and I was so happy to see him, and instead of saying that, I was so guarded. I was also drinking and then we went home together and that’s when I let it slip that I was falling in love with him.”

 

Olivia expels a deep breath. 

 

“But I lied.” A tear falls, one that she hadn’t been expecting and she flushes again. “ I didn’t just fall … I’ve been in love with Elliot for a long time…”

 

It’s taken the entire session and twenty-three years for her to be completely honest.

 

“Olivia… I am so proud of you. I’m proud that you conquered a fear of yours and whether you went the route you intended or not, it means something. You let yourself be vulnerable with Elliot, granted not in the most straightforward way, but I know it took a lot for you to get here. So tell me more of the truth about Elliot.”

 

“Oh, he’s frustrating as hell,” Olivia laughs tearfully. “But he’s been patient and really sweet. The first time was awkward. I think we were both nervous,” Olivia muses, thinking about how he’d accidentally pulled at her hair. She also remembers that soon after, he’d taken her lips in an all-consuming kiss, and she’d been writhing underneath him in pleasure. 

 

“The sex is wonderful, but we just have so much unresolved between us. From when we were partners all the way up till this past year. I’m afraid that if we really talk about it, we won’t ever…” Olivia shrugs. “What if we fight and we decide we were better off as friends? What if I bring up something from our past? Or his past with Kathy? My past? What about the life I lived without him? What if we just can’t get over it? Now that I have this glimpse of what it’d be like, I am so afraid to lose it that I just keep trying to get away from it.”

 

“How do you think that makes him feel?”

 

Olivia just shakes her head at the idea of Elliot hunched over his cell phone all week waiting for her call.

 

“You and Elliot Stabler are not like your other failed relationships.”

 

“And that , Doc— that’s the problem. I feel so vulnerable every time he looks at me so when he touches me, it’s… more than I’m ever prepared for. I forget everything and we just have a… special moment. It’ll kill me if it fails.”

 

“Since when are you a coward, Captain?”

 

“I’m not,” she defends, but she offers a smile, too.

 

“Olivia, I have homework for you. Reach out to Elliot.”

 

 

Olivia doesn’t mind walking in heels. She used to wear them, high ones, and run up and down the streets of New York without a problem. Over the years, the heels have lowered and she goes for comfort in wedges or boots so worn in they don’t hinder her movement. Today, she’s wearing four inch pumps and a dress that she hasn’t worn in three years. It’s snug, so she has a light blazer slung over her arm for when she’s on the stand in a few hours.

 

It’s always like this when she wears dresses at the precinct. People keep looking her way and smiling in her direction as she walks down the corridor. Ignoring everyone, she raises her phone to look at Elliot’s text thread open and her thumb hovers as she tries to figure out what to say. 

 

Trying not to overthink it, she presses send.

 

10:00 AM Olivia Hey.

 

Looking over her glasses, she finds her detectives Rollins and Velasco along with Detective Khaldun all sipping coffee over Rollins’ desk.

 

“Hey Captain,” Joe Velasco greets, finding his own chair. “I’ve got paperwork for you,” he announces.

 

“Great. That’s what I like to hear,” Olivia says, pushing her glasses up.

 

“You see what I have to deal with?” Rollins asks Khaldun. “He’s a teacher's pet.”

 

Olivia and Detective Khaldun both laugh.

 

“You look nice.” Rollins points to her get up. “You have court today?”

 

“I do. The Saxe case. I’ll only be here till noon.”

 

Rollins’s eyebrows arch. “Coming in at 10 and leaving by noon?”

 

“I had therapy,” Olivia deadpans before any mentions of Elliot are thrown at her.

 

Oh, ” Rollins says awkwardly.

 

“I’m going to put my things down and get settled, but everybody, quick meeting in ten?” Olivia is already walking toward her office when each detective nods in agreement.

 

“Sure thing,” Velasco says.

 

Khaldun adds, “You got it, Cap!”

 

“Thanks again for helping out, Khaldun. Really appreciate it.” 

 

When Olivia finally sits behind her desk, she sighs. She opens her laptop and then flips the tiny fan on her desk on, all while sipping her iced coffee. She flips through the documents on her desk, making a mental checklist of everything she needs to do while at the precinct. 

 

Review DD5’s, follow up with McGrath, check all of her messages—

 

But her phone is right there in front of her. The screen is black so it means Elliot hasn’t answered her yet. Maybe she should’ve gone with something more substantial than ‘ hey ’…

 

She rubs her mouth and chin, a nervous habit she wishes she could get rid of, and picks up her cell phone again. She clears out alerts from Noah’s school, reminding her of the last day of classes and Trevor Langan needs to speak to her soon though it isn’t urgent and Carisi would like to speak to her before their case is called this afternoon. 

 

Finally, she reopens up her messages with Elliot and her thumbs hover for a beat. Elliot wants them to talk like adults and as scary as it is, he’s right. Her skittishness is going to push him away forever.

 

Maybe she can invite him over and she’ll cook (order) dinner for him and they can talk over a meal?

 

10:06 AM Olivia I have Friday night free & I was hoping you could come over…

 

She drops her phone onto her desk again to thread her fingers in her hair and she takes a deep cleansing breath. 

 

The worst that could happen has already happened. 

 

He’s left before and she survived that. She could do it again. Admitting her love for him can’t be that bad. Agreeing to date however casually is the natural progression, she repeats to herself.

 

Her phone dings.

 

10:10 AM Elliot Sorry Liv. Can’t make it. Thanks for the invite.

 

Wow. She hadn’t been expecting that.

 

“Wow,” she mutters to herself. Stabler is playing hard to get.

 

 

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?”